Philippians 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
It is common today to think of love as purely a “feeling” divorced from standards, truth, objective requirements, or logic; or as the unconditional acceptance of virtually all lifestyle, behavior, and religious choices. For Christians, “love minus knowledge” results in an application of God’s blessings and acceptance based on… nothing really. It makes God’s love available without condition. Sentiment, wishful thinking, human emotion – those are the measures by which many claim that “love” is all that matters. “Just love brother… that’s all that matters.” Is that true?
God is love. Love is the greatest of God’s commandments. But true love is never separated from TRUTH (God’s version) and love without TRUTH is simply undefined and ineffective emotion. We do a disservice to God’s Word when we promote love without Scriptural knowledge, love without Biblical standards, or love without Spirit discernment. Love separated from doctrine (Truth according to God) is dangerous and deceptive because it promotes acceptance, security, or relationship apart from God – who most certainly has standards and conditions regarding a relationship with Him.
Knowledgeable and Discerning Love
The Apostle Paul wisely encourages us to “abound still more” in love but qualifies that it must be love based in knowledge (God’s Truth) and discernment (Truth applied, i.e. wisdom).
Why? So that we may approve and promote those things which are “excellent.” You cannot know which things are excellent in God’s eyes if you do not have knowledge of God’s Word. Why? So that we may be sincere and without offense until Jesus returns. We can only be sincere in love if we know the objective standards set forth by God. We can only avoid offense when we know what offends God. We can only be filled with the fruit of righteousness if we know what God calls “righteous.” We must have the knowledge and then through discernment we can apply this knowledge to our love for others. True love is communicating God’s truth to other people… not extending unconditional acceptance and condoning all behavior in the name of “love.”
Love is not the conditionless acceptance of all lifestyles, all personal conduct, all individual choices, or all pursuits of God. Love is accepting, teaching, promoting, and declaring the TRUTH – the truth according to God. Love is not a standardless emotion that invites all, accepts all, permits all, condones all, and overlooks that which violates God’s expressed written truth (the Bible). That is counterfeit love, a love that is not love at all.
We do no one any favors by pretending that a standardless extension of love to all, at all times, draws people to God or Jesus. It does not. Standardless love merely gives a false sense of security or acceptance, and actually promotes the rejection of God by pretending that the humanistic version of love is superior to the Godly version.
We are to love. God IS love. Love is the greatest commandment but Godly love is always rooted in Scriptural knowledge and applied with discernment… not because God wants to withhold love but because God wants TRUE love offered to all. True love is love extended on God’s terms.