I always appreciate the reminder offered in the old aphorism about strengthening our love with truth and softening our truth with love. The verses we’re looking at this week address another complement to love: discernment. Does love lead to discernment or is it the other way around: discernment enhances and strengthens love? Probably both. It seems safe to say that healthy love requires discernment and that without love, discernment is short-sighted and undependable. Discernment strengthens love and love deepens discernment. May your love abound, more and more, with knowledge and all discernment!

Over the last couple of days, we explored the link between love and discernment, or insight, that Paul lays out in verse 9 of chapter 1. Toward what end? Verse 10 says “So you may approve what is excellent.” The New International Version reads “So that you may be able to discern what is best…” Oh, to have that level of insight and clarity! To know what is best and be able to determine the best course of action. How would it enhance our lives to have the ability to make consistently sound decisions?

Studies suggest that adults make more than 30,000 choices every day. Here we read about a path for increasing the likelihood of making wise choices—decisions that lead to positive outcomes. Facts and knowledge certainly help when making decisions, but discernment and wisdom go deeper–especially when laid over a foundation of love. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the details of life and allow ourselves to react rather than take a step back, take in the whole picture, and respond in love, asking for discernment.

As love overflows our lives and we engage in strong decision-making skills, we will, according to Paul, experience the “excellent” life God has planned for us. Not the “easy” life or the “pleasant” life–but the wondrous life that allows us to reach our full potential and experience all God has planned for us, aligned as we are with the master plan.

May your love abound, more and more, with knowledge and all discernment!

Pastor Ryan Paulson
(Written before he went on sabbatical)

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