The key to the kingdom of God is love; without it nothing matters. (1 Corinthians 13)
Love is perfected through obedience.
Below is a description of the different levels of love and how obedience transforms it:
Phileo: You love someone because they love you.
Agapao: You love your neighbor and your enemy through loving actions because you love God and He commands it. It’s a decision of the head: you do the loving action as obedience to the Lord even when you don’t feel it.
Agape: The greatest of faith, hope and charity … agape love. To value highly. This is to love your neighbor and enemy from an eternal perspective – including loving the unloveable as Jesus did on the cross. You actually feel love for the lost despite their rejection. Webster’s 1829 Dictionary: “The highest exercise of charity, is charity towards the uncharitable.” Agape love is God’s love through us. It is perfected through obedience when we incorporate agapao love. When we love (agapao) others as a decision of the head (also known as the assent of the will); it is through that obedience that God perfects our agapao love, moving it from the head to the heart, transforming our agapao love to His agape love: love in its highest form.
John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved (phileo), and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love (agapao) your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love (agapao) one another: for love (agape) is of God; and every one that loveth (agapao) is born of God, and knoweth God.
Agapao transformed to Agape:
The transition from agapao love to agape love is accomplished through obedience. Because we love others (through loving actions even though we don’t feel it) as obedience to the Lord; He grants His love through us perfecting it (then we actually feel love for the unloveable):
1John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love (agapao) one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love (agape) is perfected in us.
1John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love (agape) of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love (agape) one to another.
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love (agape); but perfect love (agape) casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (agape).