the discernment that comes from love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

There are many times when something seems like the right thing to do at the time, or probably more accurately what we’re moved to want to do. We have some impulse, and probably on some level it is justified. But what we’re about ready to do, or actually do, is not as helpful for the situation as we might think, mostly in terms of wisdom. The passage quoted above probably has to do with the character being formed, namely our own. Not only might our words or actions do damage to someone, or the people around us. It doesn’t contribute well to the character being formed, namely, our own maturation into the image and likeness of Christ.

Discerning what is best is in the context of love, so that the issue is having more than just head knowledge, so that one can say or do what is “right.” But it’s a knowledge steeped in love, specifically a love that is rooted in God, in Christ. Perhaps the most important beginning point to take home here is that it’s a knowledge or action (including inaction) which is shaped by love, the love of God in Jesus. The Spirit certainly figures into this, since we live by the Spirit, but the text focuses on our maturation in Christ.

And so I want to grow more and more in this way. Living in God’s love in Jesus above anything else. And living out of that love so that I become more and more like him along with others.

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