The human concept of love is represented in the New Testament by the Greek word, phileo. Phileo has often been translated as love, but it really means “worldly affection.” Phileo-love is selfish desire it invariably adds to self-esteem. It is the self-enriching love agreeable to carnal men. It is always based on merit and directed toward items of obvious value. It originates in human feelings and is guided by group consensus. It functions in the emotions, bringing laughter or tears. Phileo-love is the warm attraction and buzzy titillation that mortals first feel for their creator. This was the love that Judas had for Jesus. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss (phileo), that same is he: hold him fast.
The worldly affection of phileo-love comes naturally to the carnal mind. Thus it is no wonder that Modern Christianity has mistakenly accepted phileo-love in place of agape. Modern Christians have been swindled into believing that a temporal, self-enriching love is the agape of God. They accept human tenderness and earthly riches as the perfection of God’s substance within them. Thus phileo-Christians believe they are spiritual when they convene into groups for hugging, bask in emotional warmth, and display their wealth. All the children of the earth who serve thee and remember thee when they require anything from thee. Jasher 22:48.
Based on this concept of phileo-love, Modern Christianity has concocted a system of doctrines that allows them to draw close to God in tender affection while rejecting anything they don’t like. They retain Free Will and reject God’s sovereignty. They claim resurrected glory but disavow the crucifixion process that produces it. They retain God’s good, and deny his evil. They are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
Having separated themselves from the deep workings of God they convene to share fables for the approval of men at social gatherings called “church.” For they love (phileo) to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Thus phileo-love is the ever-failing sticky syrup that is commonly substituted for agape and served up weekly by Organized Christianity. If any man love the world, the love (agape) of the Father is not in him.
Phileo-love is produced in response to God’s “good.” When God brings good to your life you selfishly enjoy it, and phileo-love swirls around inside you. This love can only be phileo because it is based on receiving. The cursed Adamic nature can thrive forever on this love.
But this is not the final destiny for man. Phileo-love is incomplete. He that loveth (phileo) father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Phileo-love cannot sustain you in times of evil, for it cannot explain the presence of travail in your life. The ineffectual sugar of phileo-love becomes pathetically inadequate when you are engulfed in a fiery storm by the hand of God. He that loveth (phileo) his life shall lose it. When this happens you will either run away and blame Satan, or press forward to search for a new and higher definition of God’s love.
If you are willing to leave off your carnal bias, one day God will bring you an amazing experience. He will engulf your life in a travail of his own making. There you will learn that God is the instigator of all things good and evil. Then your ideas of his love will begin to change. You will find a larger love that can bring evil for a benevolent purpose. As this understanding materializes within your spirit, the limitations of phileo will crumble into the ashes of your life. There you will learn that phileo-love is formed in you when God gives you his “good.” But agape-love is formed in you when God thrusts you through with his “evil.” What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
Agape-love can only be produced in response to God’s “evil.” It can only originate from situations of emptiness and distress, where the carnal man receives nothing. Agape-love does not produce a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It is born of pain and responds to unworthy people and devastating circumstances with forgiveness, hope, and humility. This selfless perfection can never be an attribute of the fallen Adamic nature. To the contrary, it appears in man only after his Adamic nature is broken.
Agape-love is fashioned inside the high walls of heartache and terror, in a prison far removed from selfish desire. While locked in this cell with their accusers, most men will seek to escape the trials that would produce agape-love inside them. But fortunately for you, God will arrange things so that this is impossible. He intends for you to grow up through your trials, not escape from them. Thus he hems you in by his sovereign work, then patiently waits until agape-love is born in your spirit and exudes from your bones. I pray, that your love (agape) may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. Your quest to become the love of God is a two step process. Phileo is only the first step. Phileo-love is an attribute of created beings and carnal death. If your love remains at the phileo level you will remain spiritually dead. Your love for God begins in “phileo,” but must continue on to become “agape.”
When you first learn the goodness of God you will have phileo-love for him. After that, you must learn the affliction of God to become the perfection of agape. This is the crucifixion process. When you experience a cross from the hand of your Heavenly Father, your fallen Adamic nature will be shattered and with it your adolescent understanding of good and evil. By the time agape-love flows out from your spirit, you will have learned that every event in creation is God, and each is an instructor of his divine love. After his resurrection, Jesus asked Peter if agape-love was yet formed in his heart. Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapao) thou me more than these? But though Peter “loved” Jesus, he had denied him three times. His love was still at the phileo level; it was far from perfect. Even with all the “good,” the miracles, and the personal instruction of Jesus Christ, agape-love had not yet been birthed in Peter’s spirit. Peter was still at the first step, the “phileo” stage. Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.
Agape-love was matured in Jesus Christ when he gave his life in response to evil. Now it is your turn. If you seek an intimate relationship with God, preferring him above all else, he will arrange for the birth of agape-love in you. The process will begin as trials of evil slam into your life. When that happens you must leave phileo behind and pursue agape-love. Above all these things put on charity (agape), which is the bond of perfectness. Stepping toward this glowing threshold to the Begotten Realm is a solemn experience. It requires that you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him. If you will, then your life is about to change. And to you he whispers of a spiritual destination that is incomprehensible to mortals. This is a share in his divine substance, through the birth of agape-love. As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love (agapao) him.