“Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more.”
// 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
Everyone is born with something that makes them unique. Just as God created you fearfully and wonderfully [Psalm 139:14], He made others fearfully and wonderfully. As we begin to realize and accept God’s love for us, we’re taught to love others. We can begin to develop a love for others by finding out the value – or worth – in their uniqueness. For example, maybe we think in a very black and white, logical way, but someone else is very free-spirited in their thinking. Instead of seeing our perspective as superior, we can learn to see the value in how God made them in order to offer a unique perspective on life and the world. Finding a person’s worth is the basis of phileo love.
Paul says to keep increasing the love among us. It’s all too easy to plateau in our friendships by getting too focused on the daily routine. We need to shake this off. We should be seeking each other out: drinking good coffee, planning adventures together, reaching out to see how we’re doing. Not because we feel obligated, but because God’s love is being channeled through us. And we need to press in. It’s hard to love someone if we’re not living life with them. We need to be involved in each other’s worlds: helping move apartments, celebrating new jobs and promotions, throwing dinner parties, and generally doing life together. This is what it looks like to build a community on phileo love.
Having phileo love towards others means we’re actively seeking the benefit of others, our community, and our city. This means seeking the benefit of the church and community of faith, regardless of denomination or doctrinal background; means becoming a force for good in our neighborhoods; means being salt and light in every borough.
Let’s live phileo today – not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit [Zechariah 4:6]. And as God continues to teach us how to love each other, may we continue to do so, more and more.
// Josh Neuroth