Read the following prayer taken from Ephesians I pray that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. He meant anyone with whom you have contact.
He even meant your enemies Matthew Learning how to love others is a life-long process. A good place to start is 1 Corinthians In this study, Paul teaches us that love is not sweet, emotional feelings for others although those are wonderful. Instead, love is found in our attitudes and actions. In essence, love is a choice. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Related: Should you love yourself first? Living by the two greatest commandments does not come naturally for most of us. We often forget them. Or we give in to our stubbornness, selfishness, or irritation. What are potential obstacles that might prevent you from praying at this time? How can you overcome these obstacles? When I am with others, do I think about how I can bless them? Do I criticize or ridicule anyone when talking about him or her?
When discussing problems with others, do I speak respectfully? Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. Visit www. Permission granted to print for personal use.
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Sign Up. Your first steps with Jesus Read More. See yourself as God sees you Read More. Sign up to get newsletters a month announcing new online Bible studies and more. Your confidentiality is assured. We will never sell or share your name or email address. In this study, you will read a much easier way to please God—to love him and to love others.
What are the two greatest commandments?
The first commandment
Read Luke According to this passage, who is your neighbor? Key steps to loving God: Read the Bible daily. Praise and worship God throughout the day. Thank God for your salvation and the many ways he has blessed you. Ask for and receive forgiveness for your failures and sins. Pray for: A stronger desire to read the Bible.
Greater understanding of the Bible. A deeper trust in God. Contentment with what God has provided. Freedom from fear. Make it personal 4. Which of the previous ideas will help you love God more? Why will this help? Thomas Aquinas , following Aristotle , defines love as "to will the good of another. People can be said to love an object, principle, or goal to which they are deeply committed and greatly value.
Practical Steps to Loving God and Loving Others
For example, compassionate outreach and volunteer workers' "love" of their cause may sometimes be born not of interpersonal love but impersonal love, altruism , and strong spiritual or political convictions. If sexual passion is also involved, then this feeling is called paraphilia. Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a much more potent sentiment than a simple liking for a person. Unrequited love refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships.
There are also a number of psychological disorders related to love, such as erotomania. Throughout history, philosophy and religion have done the most speculation on the phenomenon of love. In the 20th century, the science of psychology has written a great deal on the subject. In recent years, the sciences of psychology , anthropology , neuroscience , and biology have added to the understanding the concept of love. Biological models of sex tend to view love as a mammalian drive, much like hunger or thirst. Lust is the feeling of sexual desire ; romantic attraction determines what partners mates find attractive and pursue, conserving time and energy by choosing; and attachment involves sharing a home, parental duties, mutual defense, and in humans involves feelings of safety and security.
Lust is the initial passionate sexual desire that promotes mating , and involves the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and estrogen. These effects rarely last more than a few weeks or months. Attraction is the more individualized and romantic desire for a specific candidate for mating, which develops out of lust as commitment to an individual mate forms.
Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including the neurotransmitter hormones , dopamine , norepinephrine , and serotonin , the same compounds released by amphetamine , stimulating the brain's pleasure center and leading to side effects such as increased heart rate , loss of appetite and sleep , and an intense feeling of excitement.
Research has indicated that this stage generally lasts from one and a half to three years. Since the lust and attraction stages are both considered temporary, a third stage is needed to account for long-term relationships. Attachment is the bonding that promotes relationships lasting for many years and even decades. Attachment is generally based on commitments such as marriage and children , or on mutual friendship based on things like shared interests.
It has been linked to higher levels of the chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin to a greater degree than short-term relationships have. Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon. Psychologist Robert Sternberg formulated a triangular theory of love and argued that love has three different components: intimacy, commitment, and passion.
Intimacy is a form in which two people share confidences and various details of their personal lives, and is usually shown in friendships and romantic love affairs. Commitment, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent. The last form of love is sexual attraction and passion.
Passionate love is shown in infatuation as well as romantic love. All forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components. Non-love does not include any of these components. Liking only includes intimacy. Infatuated love only includes passion. Empty love only includes commitment. Romantic love includes both intimacy and passion. Companionate love includes intimacy and commitment. Fatuous love includes passion and commitment.
Lastly, consummate love includes all three components. His work states that three factors constitute love: attachment, caring, and intimacy. Following developments in electrical theories such as Coulomb's law , which showed that positive and negative charges attract, analogs in human life were developed, such as "opposites attract".
Over the last century, research on the nature of human mating has generally found this not to be true when it comes to character and personality—people tend to like people similar to themselves. However, in a few unusual and specific domains, such as immune systems , it seems that humans prefer others who are unlike themselves e. Some Western authorities disaggregate into two main components, the altruistic and the narcissistic. This view is represented in the works of Scott Peck , whose work in the field of applied psychology explored the definitions of love and evil.
Peck maintains that love is a combination of the "concern for the spiritual growth of another," and simple narcissism. Psychologist Erich Fromm maintained in his book The Art of Loving that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the "feeling" of love is superficial in comparison to one's commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time. Evolutionary psychology has attempted to provide various reasons for love as a survival tool.
Humans are dependent on parental help for a large portion of their lifespans compared to other mammals.
Love has therefore been seen as a mechanism to promote parental support of children for this extended time period. Furthermore, researchers as early as Charles Darwin himself identified unique features of human love compared to other mammals and credit love as a major factor for creating social support systems that enabled the development and expansion of the human species.
This would favor monogamous relationships over polygamy. Biological models of love tend to see it as a mammalian drive, similar to hunger or thirst. Certainly love is influenced by hormones such as oxytocin , neurotrophins such as NGF , and pheromones , and how people think and behave in love is influenced by their conceptions of love. The conventional view in biology is that there are two major drives in love: sexual attraction and attachment. Attachment between adults is presumed to work on the same principles that lead an infant to become attached to its mother. The traditional psychological view sees love as being a combination of companionate love and passionate love.
Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal shortness of breath, rapid heart rate ; companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by physiological arousal. Greek distinguishes several different senses in which the word "love" is used. At the same time, the Ancient Greek text of the Bible has examples of the verb agapo having the same meaning as phileo. The term s'agapo means I love you in Greek.
The word agapo is the verb I love. It generally refers to a "pure," ideal type of love, rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros. However, there are some examples of agape used to mean the same as eros. It has also been translated as "love of the soul. The Greek word erota means in love.
Plato refined his own definition. Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros. Some translations list it as "love of the body". Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship.
It can also mean "love of the mind. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and his guest, who could previously have been strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was expected to repay only with gratitude. The importance of this can be seen throughout Greek mythology —in particular, Homer 's Iliad and Odyssey. The Latin language has several different verbs corresponding to the English word "love. The Romans used it both in an affectionate sense as well as in a romantic or sexual sense.
From this verb come amans —a lover, amator, "professional lover," often with the accessory notion of lechery—and amica , "girlfriend" in the English sense, often being applied euphemistically to a prostitute. The corresponding noun is amor the significance of this term for the Romans is well illustrated in the fact, that the name of the City, Rome —in Latin: Roma —can be viewed as an anagram for amor , which was used as the secret name of the City in wide circles in ancient times ,  which is also used in the plural form to indicate love affairs or sexual adventures.
This same root also produces amicus —"friend"—and amicitia , "friendship" often based to mutual advantage, and corresponding sometimes more closely to "indebtedness" or "influence". Cicero wrote a treatise called On Friendship de Amicitia , which discusses the notion at some length. Ovid wrote a guide to dating called Ars Amatoria The Art of Love , which addresses, in depth, everything from extramarital affairs to overprotective parents.
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Diligere often has the notion "to be affectionate for," "to esteem," and rarely if ever is used for romantic love. This word would be appropriate to describe the friendship of two men. The corresponding noun diligentia , however, has the meaning of "diligence" or "carefulness," and has little semantic overlap with the verb.
Observare is a synonym for diligere ; despite the cognate with English, this verb and its corresponding noun, observantia , often denote "esteem" or "affection. As it arises from a conflation with a Greek word, there is no corresponding verb. Two philosophical underpinnings of love exist in the Chinese tradition, one from Confucianism which emphasized actions and duty while the other came from Mohism which championed a universal love. In Confucianism, one displays benevolent love by performing actions such as filial piety from children, kindness from parents, loyalty to the king and so forth.
In this, he argued directly against Confucians who believed that it was natural and correct for people to care about different people in different degrees. Mozi, by contrast, believed people in principle should care for all people equally. Mohism stressed that rather than adopting different attitudes towards different people, love should be unconditional and offered to everyone without regard to reciprocation; not just to friends, family and other Confucian relations.
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In Buddhism, Ai was seen as capable of being either selfish or selfless, the latter being a key element towards enlightenment. Instead of frequently saying "I love you" as in some Western societies, the Chinese are more likely to express feelings of affection in a more casual way. The Japanese language uses three words to convey the English equivalent of "love".
Follow Jesus' commands by loving God and loving people | Doug Britton Books
Because "love" covers a wide range of emotions and behavioral phenomena, there are nuances distinguishing the three terms. Following the Meiji Restoration , the term became associated with "love" in order to translate Western literature. In contemporary literature, kama refers usually to sexual desire. The concept kama is found in some of the earliest known verses in Vedas. For example, Book 10 of Rig Veda describes the creation of the universe from nothing by the great heat.
There in hymn , it states:. The children of Adam are limbs of one body Having been created of one essence. When the calamity of time afflicts one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest. If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others You are not worthy to be called by the name of "man". Sa'di , Gulistan. Rumi , Hafiz and Sa'di are icons of the passion and love that the Persian culture and language present. Chesed , often translated as loving-kindness, is used to describe many forms of love between human beings.
The commandment to love other people is given in the Torah , which states, "Love your neighbor like yourself" Leviticus The Torah's commandment to love God "with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might" Deuteronomy is taken by the Mishnah a central text of the Jewish oral law to refer to good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one's life rather than commit certain serious transgressions, willingness to sacrifice all of one's possessions, and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity tractate Berachoth Rabbinic literature differs as to how this love can be developed, e.
As for love between marital partners, this is deemed an essential ingredient to life: "See life with the wife you love" Ecclesiastes Rabbi David Wolpe writes that " It is when one person believes in another person and shows it. What we really feel is reflected in what we do. The 20th-century Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point of view as "giving without expecting to take" from his Michtav me-Eliyahu , Vol.
The Christian understanding is that love comes from God. The love of man and woman— eros in Greek—and the unselfish love of others agape , are often contrasted as "descending" and "ascending" love, respectively, but are ultimately the same thing. Christians believe that to Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in life the greatest commandment of the Jewish Torah , according to Jesus ; cf. Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verses 28— Saint Augustine summarized this when he wrote "Love God, and do as thou wilt. The Apostle Paul glorified love as the most important virtue of all.
Describing love in the famous poetic interpretation in 1 Corinthians , he wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. The Apostle John wrote, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Saint Augustine says that one must be able to decipher the difference between love and lust. Lust, according to Saint Augustine, is an overindulgence, but to love and be loved is what he has sought for his entire life. Saint Augustine says the only one who can love you truly and fully is God, because love with a human only allows for flaws such as "jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and contention.
Influential Christian theologian C. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves. Benedict XVI named his first encyclical God is love. He said that a human being, created in the image of God, who is love, is able to practice love; to give himself to God and others agape and by receiving and experiencing God's love in contemplation eros.
This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them. Pope Francis taught that "True love is both loving and letting oneself be loved It is the activity of the greatest, and the source, of all the powers in the universe: God's. In Christianity the practical definition of love is summarised by St. Thomas Aquinas , who defined love as "to will the good of another," or to desire for another to succeed. As Thomas Aquinas explains, Christian love is motivated by the need to see others succeed in life, to be good people.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Do not forget to love with forgiveness, Christ saved an adulterous women from those who would stone her.
A world of wronged hypocrites needs forgiving love. Mosaic Law would hold Deuteronomy "If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die — the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel. If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
Tertullian wrote regarding love for enemies: "Our individual, extraordinary, and perfect goodness consists in loving our enemies. To love one's friends is common practice, to love one's enemies only among Christians.