What does love have to do with discernment?
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 until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1:9-11)
According to Jesus, love for God and love for people are the greatest commandments (Matt. 22:37-40). Doesn’t it then make sense that we look at life through the lens of love, first for God and then people? Doesn’t it then make sense that we examine what we say and do in light of this higher principle of love? Doesn’t it make sense that making choices based on and out of love will help us have have the right and eternal perspective?
Governed by love, we will stop and ask questions like . . .
- Is this activity something a person who loves God would do?
- Do those words build up people rather than destroy them?
- Will this choice lead to an expression of love for God and/or people?
The love we speak of is “agape” – God’s love, not our finite rendition of love. God is love and so in reality, we are using God as the standard when distinguishing the best course of action. This is why we must be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”
What does discernment born out of love lead to?
When God loves, He gives. His is a sacrificial love. And so, when we discern based on and because of agape love, we will set aside our feelings of entitlement and get beyond having to do that which is most convenient or comfortable to us.
When God loves, He gives His very best. And so, when we discern based on and because of agape love, we will make choices that lead “to the glory and praise of God.”