I have often asked God to give me more love for others. It took me a while to realize simply loving more wasn't the same as loving rightly.
Too often, I realize, I'm not loving others the way I should. What happens as result is that either they are hurt by it, or I am hurt by it. What I really needed was not so much more love, but wiser love--love that reflected Christ's perfect love, which would truly bless both myself the recipient.
I probably focused too much on the front part of Philippians 1:9--
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more..."
...and didn't focus quite so much on "in knowledge and all discernment."
Focusing on the rest of Phil 1:9-11, which described the results/characteristics of perfect love, made me compare the way I currently loved others, with how I ought to love them:
"...that you may approve the things that are excellent..."
Love shouldn't blind you to right and wrong. Yes, love should not judge; but equally it should not cause you to compromise. I thought of Christ, how He loved sinners like the tax collectors and us, so tenderly; yet without once condoning our sin (which was the whole reason why He was here on earth.)
"...that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ..."
Examining my own heart, I realized my love for others, if well-meant, was often colored with ulterior motives. It wasn't always completely sincere. Sometimes I depended on the love they returned, to feel secure. Sometimes my love for them depended on how well they pleased me, how lovable they were--not for themselves.
"...being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
What a beautiful conclusion. This is why we're struggling, and what we're struggling for. This is also why we can struggle--enabled by Christ.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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