1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
There were different words in the Greek language for love, the Greek had at least 6 different words for different types of love. One of them was Eros, which meant sexual and romantic love, another was phileo, which was a love for a very good friend.
Those are two examples, but there was another type of love that the Greeks coined the word Agape for. Agape is what we know as unconditional love and it’s distinct difference for one is that it is the only love a person really can make a volitional and deliberate choice as an act of the will. It is an active love and not just a sensational, emotional or visceral love. We don’t often feel it bubble up or give us butterflies in our stomach but in fact, usually it requires the exact opposite.
In the science of anatomy and physiology there are 3 different muscle types, and only one muscle type that we can choose to exercise free will upon are our “skeletal muscles” They are also referred to our “voluntary muscles” and Agape in a Christian’s life is a muscle that they have a choice to exercise. One cannot choose who they “Eros” anymore then one can control their cardiac muscle. It’s not like one can just say “Oh I’m going to fall in love with that person over yonder” or “I’m just going to be best buddies with that random stranger that just walked through the door!”
Some people we will share very good camaraderie or chemistry with and others we just won’t. We all have different personalities. However, agape is not a choice but a command that does not hinge on feelings. Agape love leaves no believer off the hook because it is demonstrated through a cognitive and determined choice. That is why Jesus could use “Love” and “Enemies” in the same sentence.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Agape will love without expectations of anything in return. I know I need to grow in it for sure. It’s not the most easy thing to do but God makes it possible through His Spirit.