Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and even in the midst of a pandemic, there is a mad dash to date-night dinners and last-minute gifts. While this holiday is sacred to couples and marriages alike, it is also special in the eyes of us as believers. For when we celebrate the existence and perpetuation of love, we invite God’s loving presence into our lives. Love, as we know it, is a godly creation, unabashed and unashamed of its influence, its power, and its charity. One of the most quoted verses in the Bible begins with love: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (John 3:16, NKJV).  

But what is love in the human form compared to the heavenly form? For that, we turn to the seminal The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis of The Chronicles of Narnia fameIn this work, Lewis details four types of love and the lessons they teach the believer. These loves not only define the different loves we experience, but also encourage us with ways we can love the Lord better and more effectively.  

For He is a loving God, and we owe it to Him to love Him earnestly. 

Affection 

Affection, as Lewis states, is the most basic of loves related to the human experience. Everyone can experience affection in every stage of love: friendship, romance, marriage, and parentage. Lewis (1960) writes that “this warm comfortableness, this satisfaction in being together, takes in all sorts of objects. It is indeed the least discriminating of loves.” When a baby feels love for its mother, it’s affection – it doesn’t anticipate this connection; it just accepts the affection and its instant inception.  

So, how does this apply to God? For starters, God has an affection for us. It is indiscriminate, unassuming, and open to all. The Word says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, NKJV), and yet, all have access to His covenant through Jesus Christ. It’s an open invitation, and one that we ought to accept with gladness and gratitude. 

Ask yourself: Have I felt affection for the wonderful gift God gave me? Am I living His gift with gratitude or with grumpiness? 

Friendship 

While friendship may be one of the most common expressions of love and relationship, it is also the least understood. Lewis states that the reason friendship is so misunderstood is because it’s the “least natural of loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious and necessary.” Friendship is the inviting of someone into our sphere of influence and building a relationship with them in an intentional and practical way.  

So, what makes friendship so special for those of us in God? Well, Jesus explains it to His disciples in John 15:15 (ESV): “No longer do I call you servants  but I have called you friends. When we are friends with Jesus, we invite Him into our personal space, our lives, and our hearts. We become one with God and bridge the gap between the human and the divine. 

Ask yourself: Have I invited God into my space? Have I been open to receiving His friendship and love? 

Eros 

While the word Eros may bring the idea of passion to mind, that is not what Lewis is speaking of here. Here, Lewis writes that Eros is “that state which we call ‘being in love’; or, if you prefer, that kind of love which lovers are ‘in’.” It’s perhaps the most common idea of what love is: romantic, passionate, all-encompassing, and all-enveloping. It’s the love that gets countless songs and numerous letters sent back and forth, along with an entire genre of storytelling devoted to it. This type of love is one of the most powerful. 

But the love of God is just as strong and powerful. Paul tells us in Romans 8:35 that he is convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. That’s an all-encompassing, everlasting love — one that will outlive us on this Earth as we ascend to meet with our Father in heaven. When we connect God to Eros love, we are saying that we are in love with Him as much as He is in love with us. No, we don’t have physical relationships with God, but the very nature of our being is tied into His essence and love for us as we become one 

Ask yourself: Have I become one with God? Have I been “in love” with Him or am I just taking Him for granted? 

Charity 

Charity is the fullest and purest love, where all selfish intent is gone from the mind and all that remains is the desire to be there for the other person. It means you want to care for them simply because it’s them, and you feel no pull or tug telling you otherwise. It’s the love that we aspire to be, and the most difficult to achieve. 

This is why Lewis writes that God’s love is perfect charity love, namely when he describes how God’s charity empowers our own: “It is easy to acknowledge, but almost impossible to realize for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.” The “sun” that Lewis alludes to is a playful reference to Jesus, who stooped down from heaven and gave His life for us so that we may live, and He did so without selfish intent, without personal gain, and without regret or remorse. By realizing our own brightness, we disciple His undying devotion to those who need it most. 

Ask yourself: Am I reflecting God’s love throughout my life? Am I being kind to others the way God was kind to me? 

“A Love Like This Before” 

So, this Valentine’s Dayrevisit these four loves and choose one or two to highlight. How can you love God and your significant other with these loves, and what are some ways you can show them? I hope this has helped you discover love’s importance and nuance, for we serve a God who loves us abundantly. 

The apostle Paul put much stock in love and its relationship to God. He states in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) that if all else fails, all that remains is “faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love,” because it’s personal, it’s powerful, and it’s prolific.



Written by: Aaron Cobbs

February 7, 2021