“for some, to love others as Christ has loved us remains an ideal too far to reach. Therefore let’s start small and bring this task closer to home….love just one person”
True spiritual discernment comes from knowing the mind of Christ. Let me make this quest as practical as possible: if we would know the thoughts of Christ, we should seek to know His motives, for thoughts exist to fulfill motives. Jesus Christ came into the world, “not . . . to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17 NAB). Thus, if we truly understand the love that motivated Jesus, we will increasingly hear and understand His thoughts.
Or consider Paul’s words, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9). The route to true knowledge and all discernment is to possess abounding love. Let us learn to rest our heads upon Christ’s breast and listen to His heart. For in hearing His heart, we can discern His love for those around us.
Yet I acknowledge that, for some, to love others as Christ has loved us remains an ideal too far to reach. Therefore let’s start small and bring this task closer to home. Rather than attempting to love everyone everywhere, let us reduce the challenge and make our aim to love just one person. Now I do not mean we should stop loving others whom we already love. I mean add just one person to your heart, and release your love to that individual in a more Christlike way.
This person may be a lost neighbor or a backslidden friend; he or she might be a sick acquaintance or an elderly person from church. The individual may be a child in physical or emotional pain. (I am not suggesting you focus on an individual of the opposite sex.) The Lord will lead you. He will put one person on your heart and give you grace to grow in love.
Come to this experiment without seeking to correct him or her, unless they themselves ask for advice. Pray daily for the person. And as you listen to the voice of God’s love, something inside you will flower and open naturally toward other realms of discernment. Inspired by God, impulses and ideas born of love will increase and expand to your other relationships as well. In truth, the knowledge and insights you gain from loving just one will become a natural catalyst in loving many.
Discernment will grow and mature even as you love just one.