“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
It is popular nowadays to talk about the all-encompassing power and importance of love. We are sometimes led to believe that if we do nothing other than love each other, our lives will be perfectly harmonious and the world will have all of its problems resolved. But, while love is certainly the chief of the virtues–there’s no question on that fact in the Scriptures–contrary to popular theology and the Beatles popular song, love is not all we need.
Why would that be? Let’s think about it. Understanding that love, Biblically defined, is an intentional decision to see someone else become more fully who God designed them to be, the question becomes: How shall we do that? You see, love may be the chief of the virtues, but it doesn’t exist on its own. It is a virtue that becomes the lens through which we see and pursue the rest.
In this case, if we are going to approve what is excellent so that we may be pure and blameless and filled with the fruit of being rightly related to God and to people, we must take our efforts to move others intentionally in the direction of Jesus and pair them with knowledge and discernment.
In other words, if we are going to love well, we must have a deep understanding of the world and how it works. We must know the character of God and what are the contours of life in His kingdom. We must also learn to see the world in more colors than black and white while at the same time understanding that it does not merely exist in various shades of gray.
So, pursue love above and before all things, but understand well that love, while absolutely necessary, is not singularly sufficient. There is a great deal to know and a great deal to understand if we are going to get it right.