“Simon, son of John, do you love [agape: unconditional love] me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord; you know that I love [phileo: brotherly love] you.”
“Simon, son of John, do you love [agape] me?”
He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love [phileo] you.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love [phileo] me?”
Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love [phileo] me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love [phileo] you.”
John 21:15-17 (extracts)
Like Peter, I can't say I love You unconditionally. I'm not sure if I really know what it means to love You. Respecting and obeying and trusting and worshipping I can do, because they're actions, but love - especially a love that's unconditional - means so much more. I find myself bursting into thoughts that scream 'I love You, I love You' occasionally, but that's only when I know the Holy Spirit is filling me and speaking on my behalf.
I can't really understand Your love either. I just don't get it. I know it in my head, but it's just hard to understand. Your mercy, Your good plans for us, sure, but love... love is so different. I remember the times I saw your arms wrap round my head as You brought me close to You, though. I remember the soft, the calm image. Was that Your tenderness? Was that Your love? I don't understand, I don't know in my heart - ginosko - I don't understand what they always call the Father's unconditional love. You're a just God, you hate lukewarmness, and yet You're a loving Father. I really want to know it in my heart; help me understand.
And I know I've got so much to work on every single day. I'm still young in the faith. I've learnt a lot, but it's nothing, only the very tiniest tip of the iceberg You have in store for every disciple, a treasure trove of information for the head and heart, knowledge of You and Your workings and Your love. It's a bit like where I am in life now - I'm twenty, I've learnt so incredibly much from life, yet it's nothing; I'm still a sheltered daughter and college-student-to-be, still in the wading pool. I'm still such a young believer. Doubts come so easily. I waver a lot. Unstable. I've got so much to work on. I'm so undisciplined.
But today I remember how much I just wish that other people would feel what I've felt. Experience what I've experienced. You've given me a lot of amazing experiences and revelations and encounters and I feel so blessed, yet I can't stand knowing that I belong to a great minority. It's something fantastic that You've just really got to give to other people. It's like education. Something so fantastic and beneficial and that everyone needs to have. People need to know You. Look at this world, a heap of ashes of confusion and pride and ignorance and of running into walls. They need to experience You. They need to know Your presence and spirit.
It's just, it's something so amazing that You've given to so few. Don't hold it back anymore. Let everyone else experience the amazing things You've let me experience. And my experiences are nothing when I look at that of my leaders, my friends, testimonies I've heard. Let everyone know what Your encounters are. Show them what You've shown me.
You need to. You need to let everyone encounter You. And if You want to use me as a means by which You'll reveal Yourself and Your presence, so be it. I'm willing to be used if that's what You want to do. It's a lot of sacrifice. It's a lot. But if it's what will make Your presence known to people, so be it. Just do whatever it takes to let people experience Your Spirit and power, too. For them to know without a doubt in their hearts - ginosko - that You are Lord, and You are close.
Don't let me go. I'm scared of losing You. I know what spiritual dryness feels like and I'm so afraid of feeling dry. I really want to be able to be Your vessel as You reveal Your spirit to others. I want my friends to experience You. I want my friends to go into a deeper relationship with You. As I pray for them, anoint my hands and words. Have Your power flow through me if that's what You want to do. Do it, so that I will be touched by You too. Help me discipline myself. Help me get into a deeper relationship with You. Help me in my walk with You. Reveal Yourself to me every day. Your revelations, Your convictions, that inexplicable stirring of joy beyond words in my heart, don't keep those from me.
I'm only such a young, immature believer. Walk with me. Anoint me. Give me Your power, so that I can help others experience Your presence. I want others to feel what I've felt. Don't hold back any longer, Jesus. Let this be the day of Your power.
'And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'