What happens when our love abounds?

The Apostle Paul prayed for his friends in Philippi that their “love would abound more and more…” The church in Philippi was already known for its love. They were staunch supporters of the Apostle Paul and his mission. They possessed a fellowship that was unmatched by any other church in the first century. For Paul, though, the abounding love they shared was still not enough. He prayed for their love to abound even more.  
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No matter how loving your church may be, no church is caring enough. Every body of believers can stand to grow in kindness, just as no individual Christian has arrived at the level of Christ’s compassion. Abounding love transforms the whole church body, and the lost world takes notice.
 
 
How will abounding love transform a church? According to Paul’s prayer, where love is multiplied, so is knowledge, discernment, and wisdom. Think about it, where love is lacking foolishness abounds. People act out on their emotions instead of the Spirit, which shades truth and fractures the fellowship. As love grows, the bond of love that bind us together also grows stronger. And as love abounds even more, we become more and more approving of what is excellent in the eyes of Christ. 
 
 
When abounding love gives way to wisdom and discernment, the church body begins to look more and more like the body of Christ. His word cleanses every spot, softens every rough edge, and removes every wrinkle. The local church is revealed as the pure and blameless and beautifully radiant bride of Christ in the midst of a dark and fallen world. She becomes a beacon of hope, a shining city on a hill that cannot be hidden. 
 
 
As love abounds with wisdom and discernment, leading to the church more accurately reflecting the bride of Christ, something else happens. The church bears fruit that comes through Jesus Christ. Righteousness abounds as more and more come to faith in Christ. The dark, lost, and love-starved world cannot resist true love reflected by the body of Christ. They are drawn by the extraordinarily supernatural love of Christ that shines in His follower’s affection for one another, and they just have to have it. They are won, not only by our love for them but by observing our love for one another. They know, by our love, that we are real.
 
 
What happens when love abounds in the church? Besides growth in knowledge and discernment, besides the body becoming more like Christ, besides a lot of people coming to faith in Christ, God is praised and glorified. He died for this very reason that we might know what love is and that by understanding what love is, we might also love one another. Nothing honors God more, and nothing more effectively brings a smile to his face than when our love abounds for one another. When we, His followers, love one another, we express our understanding of who He is and what He did for us. We show that we “get it.”
 
 
I pray as did the apostle Paul. I pray that “your love would 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” (Phil 1:9-11). I hope you will make this your prayer as well, for your church and all our churches. The world desperately needs us to love one another more passionately. If we seek the glory of God and His kingdom, then we must all grow in our love for one another.