1 Corinthians 13:11, 13 – When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things…13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
The greatest thing about life for time and eternity is love. The goal of all biblical preaching and teaching is love from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Tim. 1:5). God is love; and love, as defined by His nature, is the purpose of all of life. That being established, we cannot assume understanding of such a significant word. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Philippian church, ‘that your love may overflow still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment’ (Phil. 1:9). In a culture that defines love by feelings, that equates the word love equally for food and mom, we need to continually strive for real knowledge and discernment in how to love as God loves. Too many leaders and cultural icons are using love as a prop for childish behavior that tries to cancel and destroy anyone who disagrees with their subjective reasoning.
Hebrews 12:10 reminds us that God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (nature). Love is not enabling bad behavior. Love allows for consequences with the hope of someone coming to their senses and striving for God and His best. It is in the best interest of others to hold them accountable for behavior that is destructive to self and/or others.
God himself is always our shining example to be able to grow in real knowledge of love. God requires the fruit of repentance to be in relationship with Him. That doesn’t mean we’re ever perfect in performance, but it does mean our heart’s intentions are to continually work with Him to cut out that which He defines as harmful, while being proactive towards the relationships and practices that He defines as good.
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, help us to overflow with your love while growing in knowledge and discernment of how to best apply it in every situation. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.