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  • Writer's pictureBeth Trennepohl

Upgrading my Fickle Phileo...

So, the pastor spoke about love this weekend - no surprise!

But there was a surprise twist the Holy Spirit showed me after the sermon. Does He ever do that to you ... Give you a sermon after the sermon? It happens to me a lot.

The sermon was about Agape love....There are three types of love - Eros, Phileo, and Agape.

This is probably not news to anyone, but just as a refresher:

1) The Greek word Eros is that erotic love, the funny feeling you get when you're physically attracted to someone and experiencing chemistry. 2) The Greek word Phileo is that friendly love that is logical and safe and makes sense to the mind. This type of love fuels many random acts of kindness, appreciation for thoughtful gifts, sharing something funny or cute on social media, or "loving" something yummy like a banana caramel latte. 3) The Greek word Agape is the kind of love that transcends the chemicals and the logic with a strong, radical commitment. It's typically what mothers feel for their children and it is the way God loves us, the only creation in His likeness. Agape love cannot be earned or lost due to performance, good or bad.

And here is the insight beyond the sermon:

We are three-part beings - just like God - a spirit, a soul, and a body.

Apape love is based in my SPIRIT.

Phileo love flows as a natural bi-product of my SOUL (the mind, will, and emotions).

Erotic love is felt in the BODY (due to chemicals in the brain).

This is a GREAT new insight, for a therapist!! I teach people day in and day out about the alignment of the spirit, soul, and body! Because I do this continually, I do not have the luxury of letting a new insight like this just fall by the wayside. I have a box for insights like this, constantly open -- because obviously, "It will be very helpful for such-and-such a client tomorrow!" Yeah.... it's always about the client. Today, as often happens, there was a personal upgrade for me as this insight was filed into that box.

I realized how often I clothe myself in Agape love, overlooking others' flaws and extending grace just like Jesus -- to my clients or my brothers and sisters at church, but then I put that love away when I come home. I do not often allow AGAPE love to permeate my interactions with real-life.

Sometimes Phileo just takes over, and to be honest, it's just not nearly as nice as Agape!

Phileo only loves when it feels loved. Phileo is selfish and wants to be stroked, validated, pampered, respected, and noticed. Phileo is very logical, wants to keep score and make sure things are fair. It notices flaws, and it often wants to fight for itself.

Phileo is down-right FICKLE! Because it flows from the mind, will, and emotions, it doesn't have a lot of faith. It is often fearful and then isn't much fun.

Bottom line is that my mind, will, and emotions are NOT 100% renewed like Christ yet, so my Phileo is not completely Christ-like. It is part of the old man, the sin nature, that I must remember was crucified with Christ. DAILY I must renew my mind to make my Phileo line up with His Agape.

Brothers and sisters.... Can I just give a blanket apology for allowing Phileo to trump Agape in my friendships and daily interactions.... I will absolutely include my dog, Max, in this apology, too. He gets the blunt of a lot of my fumbling, fickle, failing, flawed Phileo.

God, forgive me for using the tired old excuse that I can love someone without liking them. Faith and surrender are KEY to transforming Phileo into Agape.

Jesus says in John 15:5(b), "Without me, you can do nothing."

Look it up: the context is LOVING each other the way God loves us.

Empower me, God, to LIKE everyone I love.

God, even in my flaws, You are crazy about me.

It is written in Romans 5:8 that when I was at my WORST, God, you loved me with your perfect love (AGAPE) and sent your son to die for me and pay the full price for all my sins. When I was breaking your heart, hurting you deeply, You LOVED me with your best love.

Forgive me for being more critical of others than you are of me, God!

Forgive me for thinking my Phileo is qualified to criticize someone else, when I stand in your full Agape mercy and forgiveness.

I want to be more appreciative of God's Agape love.

I want to love others with THAT LOVE.

I want to be more likable AND lovable.

I want to like the ones I love a lot more with Agape-driven Phileo!


I AGAPE-PHILEO-LOVE all of you!!

p.s. I'll bet when Agape upgrades Phileo, everything in life will upgrade..... even Eros will get an upgrade...enough said!


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