I am not one for watching movies. However, as I got older and had children we would occasionally take some time and watch a movie. One of the movie-musicals that is considered an all times favorite by movie critics is entitled, "Fiddler on the Roof" which was a 1971 film adaptation of the 1964 Broadway hit with the same name. In one of the scenes in the movie Tevye, the narrator and main character of the story, father of five daughters, an impoverished milkman, a leader in his Jewish community, asks his wife Golde in song, "Do you love me?" Golda's responses were based on all the chores that she had done as a wife and mother for Tevye and their daughters for the past 25 years and yet Tevye continued to asks Golda, "Do you love me?"
In John 21:15-17 we see Jesus asking Peter, "Do you love Me?" Jesus asked Peter this question three times and uses verb agapaoo, which means to love affectionately, ardently, supremely, perfectly, but in Peter's reply he is using the verb phileoo, which means to love, to like, to regard, to feel friendship for another. In other Words, Jesus says to Peter, "Peter, do you love me affectionately, ardently, supremely, perfectly", to which Peter answers, "Lord, I like, I regard, I feel friendship toward you."
If Jesus stood face to face with you and asked the same question that He asked Peter, what would be your response? Before you answer, remember, the Lord knows our heart. Let's be honest most believers would respond as Peter did. Phileo is the natural type of love that like Peter every person on the planet has. However, natural love is very limited. I heard it said that natural human love is nothing more the refined selfishness because it can shows affection one minute and turn ugly the next. But agape love knows no such bounds. It is not selfish in any way because it always seeks and thinks the best of others. Agape love, or the love of God, is already in the believer, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) but it is a choice that every believer must make daily as we walk out our life in Christ.
Agape love is a demonstration, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) However, demonstrating love goes beyond doing various works or chores because the God kind of love is not natural but spiritual. It takes faith to walk it out in our daily lives for many reasons, such as, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) "If you love Me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:12-13) "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8)
As I had mentioned it takes faith to live out the God kind of love daily and consequently it takes the God kind of love to walk in faith, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6) So, for us to truly answer the question, "Do you love Me?" let's consider these things and make the choice that no matter what circumstances come our way, no matter what people may say, let us choose to have "compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." (1 Peter 3:8-9) In other words, let's choose to love as God loves and choose to practice it daily.
Finally, I want to challenge you to turn to 1 Corinthians 13, read and meditate on verses 4 - 8 every day, especially in the Amplified Version of the Bible. The apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) As we read and meditate on these verses our faith will grow, our minds will be renewed and our spirit will be built up resulting in knowing that we are Christ's due to the love that we express in every situation.