When our daughter was around one year old, she called everything “Die-yo”.
We’d say, “Call the puppy.” She’d call, “Die-yo!”
We’d say, “Call mama.” She’d call, “Die-yo!”
We’d say, “Call the bird.” She’d call, “Die-yo!”
Everything was “die-yo”. There was no discrimination in her mind between calling “puppy”, “mama”, and “bird”.
When we are young in our faith as Christians, we can be the same way. We can have no discrimination in the way we believe, love, and behave. In our immaturity, we mean well but lack the discernment to know how to apply what we’re learning.
Maybe this is where the Apostle Paul is coming from in Philippians 1:9-11.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
As the Apostle Paul continues his introduction to this letter to the church in Philippi, he prays for their love. Specifically, that their love would be overflowing and that it grows in discrimination.
What was that?!?
He prays their love abounds “in knowledge and depth of insight” specifically so they “may be able to discern what is best…”. Christian love, dear readers, was never meant to be indiscriminate. Spiritual discernment is a sign of spiritual maturity and Paul prays to this end for them.
The Holy Spirit, through the ink and quill of Paul, encourages us to increase our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual discernments so our love is robust, mature, and increasingly like that of our Master.
Sentimentality is not Biblical love. God, after all, is not a sweet, old grandpa upstairs just waiting to give us a pile of good things. He’s the Alpha and Omega. He’s the creator of the universe. He holds the universe in His hand and governs its operation by His will.
When our love grows in discernment, it doesn’t mean we get to a point where we love less. Biblical love teaches us how to love well.
For example, if someone you love is engaging in behaviors that are destructive to them, Biblical love steps in and keeps them from jumping off the proverbial cliff. We risk offending them to save them from themselves. Likewise, when we are doing something truly boneheaded, Biblical love causes others to point that out to us.
By the grace of God, may we grow in Him to the point where we do not throw love around with the equivalent of a one-year-old calling everything “die-yo”. Instead, may we grow in loving discernment and discrimination so we know how we can love others towards our loving Master Jesus.