Abounding Love

By Barb Fisher

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  (Philippians 1:9-11 NKV)

God’s love is a never-ending stream that flows freely out of the beings of those who are His. God’s love never runs out. We may become weary in loving those whose capacity to receive love can be compared to that which can only hold a very small amount. And we may feel as if our love gets trampled, rejected, and thrown back in our faces time and time again. But where does the measurement of God’s love end? At one point can we justify damming up the flow of His love? Paul wrote to the Ephesians that the love of Christ is high, deep, long, and wide. (Ephesians 3: 18) And that we can experience His love and be filled with the fullness of God. That, to me, is an amazing statement. 

Of all the prayers that a leader of a church could pray for his members, Paul prayed that the Philippian church would abound in love still more and more. To abound is to go past the ordinary; to go beyond the expected measure. And not only did he pray for them to abound in love, but that they would do so more and more!  Become one who is determined to never settle for anything less than the love of God flowing towards others that will go beyond what is good enough, but to that which is always better. How is that possible? God’s love never runs out!

The love of God in us abounds more and more in knowledge and discernment. Paul told the Ephesians that the love of Christ must surpass or go beyond knowledge. And in Philippians Paul says that their love is to abound more and more in knowledge. The love of God can only flow out of our personal encounters with the love of God. As our relationship with Him abounds, so will our love abound more and more in knowledge and in ALL spiritual discernment. Real, sincere, and true knowledge of God results is an overflow of real, sincere, and true love of God. 

The abounding love of God then acts as a litmus test for those things that are excellent. We gain a spiritual perception so we can recognize and walk in love that is sincere and not offensive. Love that is free from hypocrisy. Love that isn’t touchy and withdraws when a perceived offence occurs. 

The result is that we will be filled with fruits of righteousness which do not grow by our efforts, but by remaining in Christ. Fruits of righteousness are His fruit, not ours. Our display of fruit formed by our own efforts is useless rotten fruit. Fruits of righteousness come only from our relationship with Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is still only doing those things which glorify His Father. The fruits that grow out of abounding love in knowledge and all discernment is to the glory and praise of God.

Imagine holding an eight-ounce cup under a spigot of water and filling it until it overflows. The cup remains standing, the water spills over. Now imagine that same cup under Niagara Falls. The cup no longer stands upright, but is caught up in the powerful flow of the water to the point that it is no longer seen, but is flowing with the stream. The invitation to be filled with the fullness of God is an invitation to recognize that in order to overflow with the powerful, never-ending love of God, we must become that eight-ounce cup placed under a waterfall that is so mighty, so forceful, that we quickly become a vessel no longer seen but one caught up in the flow itself. That, my friend, is how we abound in love yet more and more in knowledge and ALL discernment.
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