"Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."
1 John 3:17-20, NRSV
In today's passage, the Apostle John commands us to love. In light of its literary context, we know that he wants Christ followers to love one another. Curiously, he chose to use agapao instead of phileo. Agapao is a Greek verb describes God's unconditional loving action in biblical language. When it comes to friendship or the mutual love between equals, phileo is usually the word to go. Why then was John chose agapao instead? Becuase that is the kind of love he said we should offer to one another.
Verse 16 of the same chapter says that "We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another." How do we know Love (Christ) Himself? From His action of laying down his life for us without asking any prerequisite from us. In this light, how do we know we are a follower of Christ and have possessed the life of Christ? By following His example of laying down our lives for one another unconditionally. It asks us to love our friends with tangible actions. That means to take away time from our agenda and to sit beside friends just to accompany them. It may even require us to give material supports if that is what's desperately needed.
John says if a person shines with this kind of love—the agape love, this person belongs to Christ. He or She will not be condemned at the time of judgment.
When I was in my rebellious years, there was a college student who will always be there every Saturday afternoon despite that I was often the only person attending that youth fellowship. I don't remember anything she taught but the only thing she displayed—she agapao a person whom others didn't know how to love. I will always remember her and associate her with God's love.
Dear friends, share with one another if you have ever experienced agape in your lives. If that is the kind of love you desire to possess, pray and ask it from God.