DISCERNING DIVINE LOVE
The Bible tells us, God is love:
1 John 4:8 MKJV: The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love.
1 John 4:16 MKJV: and we have known and believed the love that God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.
So, divine love is discerning, desiring and doing what God would do in every situation.
So, divine love has 3 components:
1. Divine wisdom
2. Divine compassion
3. Divine power
Wisdom is the principal or supreme part of love: divine compassion follows divine wisdom and then divine power follows divine compassion.
Proverbs 4:7 NIV: Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
In other words, the first thing we need to walk in love is wisdom. It is this wisdom that triggers divine compassion and then divine compassion triggers the release of divine power to do what God, who is love, will do in a particular situation.
We only truly grow in love, if we grow in the divine wisdom to walk in love:
Philippians 1:9-10 NIV: 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 until the day of Christ,
Now, many times, because of our lack of growth in love, we let our emotions take supreme place rather than divine wisdom; when this happens sometimes it is Satan operating from the air through our emotions counterfeiting love:
Matthew 16:21-23 NIV: From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (22) Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” (23) Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Ephesians 2:2-3 NIV: in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (3) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
To understand this better, we need to know what God’s character is and how He operates towards us:
God’s character is lovingkindness, righteousness and justice.
Jeremiah 9:24 ESV: but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
God first of all shows loving-kindness to all men both good and bad:
Psalms 145:9 ESV: The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Matthew 5:45 NIV: that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
After showing you loving-kindness. God then expects you to respond with righteousness:
Romans 2:4 NIV: Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
If you do not, then God’s judgement comes into operation:
Romans 2:8-9 NIV: But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (9) There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;
So, to walk in love, you have to discern in every situation how God wants you to respond in that situation: in many cases, it is with an act of kindness only; in others, it will also be with a demand for righteousness; in others, it will also be with a rebuke or chastening.
It is therefore evidently clear that WE CANNOT WALK IN DIVINE LOVE UNLESS WE LEARN TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT: knowing the mind of the Spirit of God in every situation by divine discernment and wisdom.
Some things we think are love are not love:
1 Corinthians 13:3 NIV: If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Just the mere giving of physical or material things may not be love in some situations.
Sometimes, the things we think are not love are love:
Revelation 3:19 NIV: those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
1 Corinthians 5:5 NIV: hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
So, to grow in divine love, we need to pray this prayer for ourselves regularly as a daily or weekly habit:
Philippians 1:9-11 AMP: And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment], (10) So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences], and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble]. (11) May you abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (of right standing with God and right doing) which come through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), to the honor and praise of God [that His glory may be both manifested and recognized].
In our article next week, we will see how to release the compassion and power of divine love.