And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, – Philippians 1:9
Paul begins to tell the Philippian church about what he is praying for them in verse 9. Love is the primary virtue of the Christ follower, and Paul gives us a bit of insight into Christian love. Are we to filter love with knowledge and wisdom? While the verse seems to target that, the context is that Paul is asking that their love would increase, but with the increase of love comes vulnerability. In other words, in order for you to grow in love, you must grow in Christ.
Here is a simple formula: Love = God
So let us be challenged with the following:
Love Must Grow Into You
The love you had for yesterday should increase for today. Our love for God, for people, and for the mission of Jesus should increase as I walk with Him. If we find ourselves stale, plateaued, or digressing, it may be time to do some spiritual inventory. Here is the grace side of this…We do not have to muster or create more love, we just need to let more of God’s love into our own lives. When this happens, an overflow of love “abounds” and our lives become the essence of love in all things.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8
Love Increases Knowledge
When we truly love someone, we want the best for them. Paul prays that as love abounds, knowledge increases as well. As we allow the love of God to overflow, we learn more about God, people, and ourselves. Love impacts how we learn.
Love Judges Right From Wrong
This may sound harsh, but when we increase in love, we increase in discernment. The word discernment means
“sound judgment which makes possible the distinguishing of good from evil and recognition of God’s right ways. To perceive the real nature of something.”
This does not mean we are asked to or allowed to bring some final judgment on someone for their choices. However, we are expected to be wise enough to avoid pitfalls, steer our closest relationship choices and make sound decisions in this love we abound in. As our love increases, so does the voice of the Holy Spirit who convinces us regarding our choices and interactions.