Author: Ron Graham
In this study, we consider the seventh element of spiritual wellbeing, namely a Christ-like love.
Philippians 1:8-9. Paul was a man of love —both for the truth God had revealed to him, and for the people to whom he preached it. "God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:8). This was not mere sentiment, but a genuine and generous love. Paul prays, "That your love may abound still more and more" (Philippians 1:9).
Paul did not love with a love of his own. He loved with the affection of Christ. To love as Christ loved, is to truly love.
True love does not cover up or ignore sin, but helps the sinner to conquer. Such was the Saviour's love.
Sin sickens the soul; love heals the soul. Spiritual wellbeing depends on conquering sin, just as physical wellbeing depends on conquering disease. One does not love a sick person by failing to notice that person is ill.
Philippians 1:9. Paul calls this love a love in knowledge. "That your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment" (Philippians 1:9)
True love is a truth-based love. A love blind to the truth is a counterfeit love. Love must always help people know the truth and apply it to their lives.
Philippians 1:10. Next, Paul mentions sincerity. That is immediately followed by the mention of righteousness (Philippians 1:10). A person who ignores or hides wrong, instead of discerning it, is neither sincere nor loving..
We know that a sincere person stands up for what is right. Yet we are more likely to speak of the person who does not notice sin as a sincere person, and the person who stands up for what is right as a trouble maker or a bigot. Sincerity, however, must be linked to righteousness.
Of course, love is tolerant and understanding of peoples failures when they are trying to overcome sin, but that is quite different from pretending the sin isn't there.
Philippians 2:1. Paul recognizes that everybody needs to love and to be loved. Paul speaks of "the comfort of love... affection and mercy" (Philippians 2:1). That is essential to everyone's spiritual wellbeing.