The Apostle Paul told the Phillippians that his prayer for them was that their love would abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment. If the Lord inspired Paul to pray for these saints this way and record it for us, I think we ought to know what it means for our love to abound more and more in this way. How do you measure if your love is abounding more and more?
Philippians 1:9-11 ESV And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Hooked On A Feeling
The first thing we need to do to understand how our love can abound more and more with knowledge and discernment is to realize that our society has made us hooked on love as a feeling. We generally understand emotions as things that happen to us. We usually think of our emotions as quite involuntary. And our culture has lulled us into thinking love is the same way.
We believe we can fall in and out of love quite as easily as we could fall into a ditch we didn’t see when running across a field. And when we think of love as pure emotion, it’s no wonder. This unbiblical view of love has resulted in rampant divorce, adultery, pre-marital fornication, and even perversion.
When the way we feel at any moment is equated with being “in love” or “out of love,” we can justify all sorts of wicked behavior. We can assuage our guilty consciences with the notion that we are just “acting out of love,” when, in fact, the opposite is true.
Love is Based on Truth
But when we consider that the biblical concept of love is based on truth, and not only emotions, we begin to see how love abounds with knowledge. True love is based on God who is Truth and Love (John 14:6;1 John 4:8). To love our neighbor and to love God is to keep His commandments. Consider these verses carefully.
1 John 5:2-3 ESV By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Romans 13:8-10 ESV Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Matthew 7:12 ESV “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
In summary, to truly express love toward God and others, we need to have knowledge of God’s will and obedience to His commands. To do otherwise is matter-of-factly unloving. Allow me to say it clearly. No one loves their mistress. No one loves his homosexual partner. No one loves a child they molest. No one loves a God they refuse to worship His way.
The point is that while we are actively engaging in sin with and or against others, we cannot call that act loving in any way!
So how can you tell if your love is abounding more and more? Let me give you an analogy to help you think about it. Imagine you loathe cucumbers. You can’t stand ’em! But there is nothing inherently wrong with cucumbers.
Let me ask: “If you made a new friend and your friend invited you to their house and made you a beautiful tray of cucumbers, would you consider that unloving?” Of course not! You may actually think of it as a loving act. “It’s the thought that counts,” you may think.
Now, what if I made you the same tray of cucumbers (knowing of your aversion to them!)? You can see the distinction now! For me to have knowledge of your distaste for cucumbers and make them for you is seen as unloving while the same act, performed by someone without knowledge may be seen as loving!
We need knowledge for our love to abound toward one another. And discernment helps us to apply that knowledge to everyday life. I can love my neighbor, my coworker, a fellow church member, and my family with very little knowledge because God’s Word gives me universal truths about every man, woman, and child’s needs. But my love will abound more and more as I take time to get to know that person so that I can discern their specific needs and wants and act according to the standard of God’s moral law.
Jesus Is Perfectly Love-able
It is important to note and end with the fact that your abounding love for God is also limited by your knowledge (or lack thereof). Dear Christian, you love God, but do you desire to love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? If so, take the time to get to know Him better through His revealed Word.
Jesus is perfect. Thus, He is perfectly love-able. Our lack of love toward Him is our problem. If we would learn more about Him, we should come to love Him more. Commit yourself to commune with our Lord through prayer and Bible study that your love for Him would abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment!