The 'Phileo' Crisis

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   We begin by letting God speak. Here He uses the apostle Paul as the inspired writer: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above all things.” (Romans 12:10)

   God is referring to one of His forms of love. It is called “phileo” (“brotherly”) love.  It is a love that “honors” each other, as it also honors God.
   Now we will let the world (through Satan) speak. It comes in a distortion of such love.  It is when the physical enters in.  It is when “friends” become sexually involved. 

   Said differently, it is when two, uncommitted people form a physical relationship for mutual pleasure. It is what is portrayed often through the visual and written media. It can be summarized succinctly as: our eyes met…we desired each other (at least one partner did)…we had sex. No courtship…no commitment…no guilt.  We even naively justify it as “making love.”

   And Satan dances with delight. He knows what he has done. He has distorted God’s plan for love…and left ample room for loveless, brief encounters. Rarely do such relationships form into lasting love relationships. Rarely do such partners seek God and the redemption He offers. 

   In most cases, one or both partners get hurt.  This also goes against God’s plan for love — where no one gets hurt (Romans 13:1010a).

   But as evidence of the hope that God offers, He give us a human example where the deviation found divine redirection.  We find the story in 2 Samuel 11 and 12 the story of King David and Bathsheba. We find impulsive sex (11:4a)… confession and absolution (12:13)…and the redeemed relationship sustained. Indeed from this marriage came Solomon (12:24), the third king of Israel.

   God is not a “holy kill-joy” who is out to eliminate our pleasure. God has created a special place for physical pleasure. It comes in committed, marital relationships. Yes, in His divine union, partners will become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24b).

   What is clear is that love has a spiritual dimension. Since love is one of God’s primary plans for mankind, it is also one of Satan’s main targets.  God and Satan battle, and the outcome has major implications — for individual “lovers”…for marriages… for families…for the churches…for the whole culture.

   Ultimately God wants His followers to experience “agape” love, “complete, unconditional love that is a reflection of His own.”  It is a holy love which places Him at the center for lasting results.  Come, share in God’s love!

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