What Love is This?

“And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” (Phil. 1:9)

What a pertinent analogy there is in this powerful verse. The picture is, as it were, of a river with two banks on either side. Those two banks, or boundaries, are KNOWLEDGE and JUDGMENT. KNOWLEDGE is that
intimate understanding of a thing. It is an intellectual component. JUDGMENT is discernment–the ability to appropriately distinguish between things.

In other words, the two banks that hem in an abounding river called love is knowledge and discernment. Apart from banks (boundaries), a normally beneficial thing (a river) becomes an incredibly destructive thing. Have you ever been in a flooded area? The incredibly destructive power of water out of its banks is fearsome. Equally, unbounded love is just as destructive, even diabolical.

Tragically, we live in a contemporary world where the concept of love is almost totally misunderstood and certainly abused. There is a present generation (even in the church) that advocates unbridled love–that is
love without ANY boundaries. It’s almost as if we are being admonished to love any and all, even that which is completely antithetical to God’s word, will, and ways.

For the Biblical believer, our standard is God’s word. Unfortunately, the word of God is incessantly under attack by many in this present generation. I have no doubt that is the case because God’s word stands
in the way of their unbridled, unbiblical, ungodly desires. Rather than the word being the standard, the “love of Jesus” is.

In all candor, we cannot know the love of Jesus apart from the word of God. And, the word clearly says, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil!” (Ps. 97:10)

So, for love to be biblical, legitimate, and acceptable to the God of heaven, it must have as a component of it–holy hatred of that which is evil. So, no matter how emotional, empathetic, and seemingly effective
love may appear to be, if it has not this holy hatred for evil, it is false and a sad counterfeit of the genuine article.

Hardly a week (now, almost a day) goes by without me hearing some contemporary “believer” condemning discernment in the name of “love.” That condemnation can take many forms–from the condemnation of those who see, and are attempting to warn about, the evils of Islam, to the
equally vengeful language directed toward one who holds to the inerrancy and authority of the Bible.

Think of what I just said. The “loving” contemporary “believer” harbors abject animosity toward another–the one who attempts to exercise discerning love by calling evil by its name. Unbelievable, is it not?

I have no doubt that my comments here will be misconstrued and maligned as “unloving” by some. But, I write these words out of deep and abounding love for my Lord, His word, and people.

I have little doubt that if Jesus were to literally emerge in a contemporary city, fashion a whip of cord, and wade into the middle of a religious setting, driving the false worshippers out, He, Himself, would
be condemned as “unloving.” The One Who is Love, would be deemed unloving.

Bottom line is this! All that claims to be love is NOT. All that masquerades as loving is NOT. So, may God grant the requisite KNOWLEDGE and DISCERNMENT that will allow us to genuinely love as did our Savior.

I can assure you that the river of His love was not out of bounds. Rather, His love was controlled by the very things that are to control our love–Knowledge and discernment. “But Jesus did not commit Himself
to them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man.” (John 2: 24-25) Now, that’s knowledge and discernment–hence Biblical love!

Dave Kistler
President, HOPE Ministries International/HOPE To The Hill
President, North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN)
Co-host, Stand In The Gap Radio

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