I love The LORD
Because HE hears my voice and my supplications
Because HE has inclined HIS ear to me
Therefore I shall call upon HIM as long as I live
The opening Scriptures (Psa 116:1-2) are the words of my heart for my Beloved LORD GOD. I frequently think about HIM. I have a “tender affection” for my Beloved because of HIS love for me, HIS continual care of me, and our precious time spent together. I feel warm inside when I think about HIM. I think about HIS goodness, HIS gentleness, HIS powerful WORD, and the many conversations we have held together. HE is my caring family and closest friend. I am emotionally attached to my Beloved LORD GOD, I desire to continuously be in HIS presence, hearing HIS voice. In Psalm 63:1-8, King David perfectly expressed this very love.
Is this type of love “Agapee”? No, this love is identified by two names. In the Old Testament it is “ἀhab (ἀheb)” (OT:157), and in the New Testament it is “phileo” (NT:5368). “Ἀhab” and “phileo” both represent a love known for having a strong emotional attachment to, a tender affection for, and a desire to be in the presence of. It’s a love that cherishes (Psa 27:4-6, Psa 34:8, Psa 40:5, Psa 143:5-6).
“Ἀhab” in the Old Testament, can be a love that represents many different types of relationships, but for purposes of this study we will only look at the relationships that are comparable to the same love as “phileo” in the New Testament. Both “ἀhab” and “phileo” represents love between:
• parents and their children, such as ABBA FATHER has for JESUS (Jhn 5:20) and HIS other children who love JESUS (Jhn 16:27, Rev 3:19); Abraham had for Isaac (Gen 22:2); Israel had for Joseph (Gen 37:3); or Ruth had for Naomi (Rut 4:15)
• dear friends (Pro 17:17,) such as Jonathan and David (1 Sam 18:1); JESUS and HIS obedient followers (Pro 18:24, Jhn 15:14-15, Jam 2:23)
• servant and their Master (Exd 21:5-6, Deu 15:16-17, Jhn 21:15-17)
“Phileo” as reflected in various passages in the New Testament, can be a harmful love. Harmful when:
• love for family is deeper than love for JESUS CHRIST (Mat 10:37)
• the recognition as righteous, means more than being righteous (Mat 6:5, Mat 23:6-7, Luk 20:46, Mat 23:27-28)
• men love their own life/way of life so much they are not willing to give it up or change it (Mrk 8:34-37, Luk 9:24-25, Luk 17:31-33, Jhn 12:25).
When “phileo” is healthy, not only is it beneficial but also this love for our Precious JESUS CHRIST is an absolutely necessary condition of salvation! You might be wondering why this type of love for CHRIST is crucial, it’s because you will never be able to have a personal relationship with HIM if your heart is not emotionally attached to HIM. Without “phileo” your desire for HIM, will never be stronger than the desires of your flesh (Ecc 11:9, Mrk 4:19, Gal 5:24, Tit 2:12) or your attractions to the world (1 Jhn 2:15-17). This type of love for JESUS CHRIST and for The WORD of GOD (because JESUS CHRIST is The WORD – Jhn 1:1, Jhn 1:14, Rev 19:13) is so crucial, that our Beloved LORD GOD issued a very solemn warning through HIS servant Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:21-22:
The greeting is in my own hand — Paul.
If anyone does not love The LORD, he is to be accursed.
In examining how serious the warning in 1 Corinthians 16:22 is:
• In 1 Corinthians 16:21, Paul’s words indicate he has stopped dictating and began writing the final greeting himself.
• In 1 Corinthians 16:22, Paul personally tells us “If anyone does not “phileo” The LORD, he is to be “anathema.”
Paul is telling us, to not have a sincere love for our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST causes one to be subject to “anathema.” Anathema is a word with Aramaic origin (NT:331), which means to be accursed (Eph 2:1-3, Col 1:21, 2 Pet 2:14), set apart for destruction (Pro 16:4, 2 Ths 1:8-9), or set apart from GOD (Mat 7:23, Luk 13:27). This might seem harsh, until you understand that one who does not love JESUS CHRIST is one who refuses to be guided by The WORD of GOD, and defies HIS authority (Jhn 14:15, Jhn 14:21, 2 Pet 2:10, Jud 1:8). The one who does not have a deep affection for our Beloved LORD, has no attachment to HIM, no trust in HIM, and no belief in HIS WORDS. And will suffer the same fate of all unbelievers and disobedient (Jhn 3:36, Jhn 16:8-9, 2 Ths 1:8-9).
• Maranatha is also a word with Aramaic origin (NT:3134) which means O LORD come, our LORD come, our LORD is coming (Php 4:5, Heb 10:37, Jam 5:8, Rev 22:20). It is an exclamation of the approaching divine judgment, for those who do not sincerely love HIM, though they make an outward profession of love. True faith in CHRIST comes with sincere love for HIM, which is reflected in obedience to HIM (Jhn 10:2-5, Jhn 10:25-28). Those who do not sincerely love HIM are warned about their exposure to GOD’s wrath (Rom 5:9, 1 Ths 1:10).
How can one know they have “Phileo” love for JESUS CHRIST? By how you live your life when you think no one is watching (Eze 9:9-10, Pro 28:13, Luk 8:17, 1 Tim 5:24-25), or if you truly believe our Beloved LORD GOD sees everything (Jer 23:24, Psa 69:5, Psa 139:12, Dan 2:22, Heb 4:13). This type of love only comes with an intimate relationship with our GOD and SAVIOR. You cannot have a close personal relationship with our Beloved and not be aware of HIS presence.
Our Beloved LORD GOD examines our heart’s attitude toward HIM (Jer 12:3), and HE calls us to examine ourselves (Lam 3:40, Psa 119:59, 2 Cor 13:5). During your prayerful examination, you might ask yourself “as a minister are my teachings in the pulpit, consistent with how I constantly live outside the pulpit (Gal 1:10, 1 Ths 2:4)?” Or “as a Christian is my public behavior consistent with my constant private behavior (Eph 6:5-6, Col 3:22-25)? Are my inner thoughts, words and behavior pleasing to GOD (Psa 19:14, Psa 104:34, Psa 119:97-103, Jhn 8:29, Jam 1:26)?”
What is “Agapee”? “Agapee” is a love that is more than feelings, it is an act of one’s will (Mat 5:43-48, Mrk 12:30-31, Eph 2:4, Eph 5:25, Col 3:19). It is a profound and constant love that is free from conditions, desires, or expectations (Job 2:9-10, Hab 3:17-19, Luk 6:35-36). It is a love that causes us to cling to our GOD (Deu 10:20, Deu 11:22, Rom 12:9↔Mat 19:16-17), and forgive others (1 Cor 13:5, 1 Pet 4:8). It is incorruptible (Eph 6:24), and steadfast (Psa 57:7-11, 1 Cor 15:58↔Heb 6:10). It is an unselfish love (Rom 5:8, Jhn 15:13, Rom 15:2). “Agapee” is a love that expresses itself through actions. GOD gave HIS SON JESUS for us (Jhn 3:16). JESUS willingly died that we might live (Jhn 10:17-18). We express “agapee” to our Beloved through our implicit obedience to HIS WORD (Jhn 14:15, Jhn 14:21, Jhn 14:23, 2 Jhn 1:6). And since we have been commanded to walk in this profound and constant love, which is free from conditions, desires, or expectations, we must walk in this love for our:
• Beloved LORD GOD at all times, even in the darkest of times (Psa 62:8, Mat 22:37-38, Heb 12:5-13, Jam 1:2-4)
• Precious LORD JESUS at all times (Jhn 8:42, 1 Jhn 5:1, Rev 12:11↔Dan 11:32-35)
• Christian brethren (Jhn 13:34-35, 1 Pet 1:22, 1 Jhn 4:7-12)
• Neighbors or fellow human beings (Mat 22:39-40, Mat 7:12, Luk 10:29-37, Rom 13:8-10)
• Enemies (Luk 6:27-28, Luk 23:34, Act 7:54-60, Rom 12:19-21)
One final note, in this section describing the love that is unconditional, incorruptible and steadfast, we have used both the Greek verb “agapaoo” (NT:25) and corresponding Greek noun “agapee” (NT:26) interchangeably.
Let us not love with word or with tongue
But in deed and truth
1 John 3:18