Good morning, Five Minute Families. Have you ever taken a moment to evaluate the depth and commitment of your friendships? What about the people you are around each week? Examining your relationships to those around you and ultimately how you relate to Jesus is what we encourage at Clear View Retreat as we minister to families going through the norms and storms of life.
As we step into week 2 of our love series, please realize that we are not encouraging folks to collect more friends on social media. We need community and we need friends, but we need quality over quantity any day. Last week we discussed God’s unconditional love called agape, and this week we are chatting about a second Greek word for love used in the Bible in a variety of word forms – phileo. Phileo is generally characterized as friendship love or brotherly love.
Now, with brotherly love, we are not talking about the typical ways brothers are known to interact, such as two teenage brothers fighting it out and calling their disagreement settled at the end of the physical fight, nor are we talking about brotherly challenges of random competition. We are not even talking about misplaced brotherly protection when you know your brother was wrong and needs to be called out but you won’t let someone outside the family do the calling out. In brotherly love, we are talking about the fondness and enjoyment of having a close relationship.
A deep, abiding love is not only found in families. When two people who are not in each other’s family delight in each other but not in a romantic, attraction-sort of way, then that love is best described with the Greek word for love which is phileo, sometimes written or described with the words philia or philadelphia. Philadelphia’s exact translation is brotherly love. And, here at CVR, Phileo is the action that we are referring to when we talk about building biblical community and one-anothering.
Think about Jesus’s relationship with Lazarus. Both Mary and Martha as well as the Jews who saw Jesus weep upon hearing of Lazarus’s death refer to His love for His friend as phileo – brotherly, friendship love. To cultivate a healthy brotherly, friendship love, let’s turn to Romans 12. Verses 9 through 16 are sometimes labeled the “Christian Ethics” list. The Matthew Henry Bible Commentary classifies those verses as seven loves that Christians owe to one another. Here are our five suggestions for expressing phileo in a biblical manner:
- Be respectful – Verse 10 says honor one another, verse 11 admonishes us to not be lazy, and verse 16 reminds us to consider others before ourselves. Each of those embody an element of respect.
- Be generous – Verse 13 expresses how we must share with those in need as well as to pursue hospitality. Think for a moment about the feeling you get when you are in the presence of someone who has taken the time to think of your comforts, needs, and desires. Hospitality does not require the generosity of money; it requires the generosity of a heart’s attitude that gives time, thought, and passion to another person.
- Be sympathetic – Verse 14 encourages us to walk together and feel what others are feeling. We mustn’t dismiss if someone is rejoicing or weeping; we must rejoice or weep with them, not just say, “oh, I’ll be praying for you” and then going about our business, never thinking of them again in that season.
- Be united – Verse 11 tells us to stay in the Spirit, serving the Lord. And, verse 16 continues that idea by specifically stating that we are to live in harmony. Without unity in the Spirit, harmony is impossible.
- Be peaceful and kind – Verse 14 prompts us to remember that even when someone wrongs us, we are to show brotherly, friendship love by blessing them.
To phileo our brothers and sisters in Christ, a five-minute family must be willing to go outside their house walls and work on the biblical community God has brought them to. If you don’t have a biblical community, we strongly encourage you to visit some local churches and speak to the pastors or teachers in your area to find a strong, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching community of Christ-followers. Don’t settle for a fun place with a group of cultural Christians.
Trying to love – or phileo – a group of shallow, masked folks will only lead to heartache. Spend time praying and searching for a group of folks who will build you up and help you through the norms and storms of life is vital to living an abundant life here on earth.
Thank you for joining us this morning, and please let us know what is the best way someone in your life has demonstrated phileo, friendship, brotherly love to you and your family by commenting on our facebook page or our blog at clearviewretreat.org. Be blessed!