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But I DO love you!

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ... (Philippians 1:9-10 ERV)
What is important and what is not - - - isn't this the question of the ages? The answer to that question can actually differ from person to person, based upon the situation, people involved, and even the phases of the moon! "Important" to my 9 year old grandson is much different than what is "important" to my 13 year old grandson. One may want to sequester himself away deep inside a book while the other wants to be making the stinkiest bait he can concoct in order to catch those elusive catfish in the pond! To me both of these are "important" for the tasks at hand are as unique as the children who are pursuing them. When God looks at his kids, he sees what is important to each of us - and he works to meet those needs as long as those things won't harm us in some way. "Important" is to be defined by God's principles - if the thing isn't violating one of those principles, it is probably fine to be pursuing it, but we must balance all our "important pursuits" with what others around us also need.
Paul writes of a couple of these "balanced needs":
Love - notice that he speaks of this first. It is to be the primary thing we allow to be developed in our lives, for as long love is in the lead, all the rest of the actions that follow should be coming along in line with what God desires. It is to be a growing thing - not something we allow to be momentary or fleeting. It is to be consistently growing, evident in our actions - for all of love's actions speak much louder than love's words.
Knowledge and Understanding - to love, Paul reminds us to add knowledge and understanding. In fact, it is quite important that we grow in our knowledge of how God works, and what his purpose is for us. It is also important that we seek to understand each other, developing in our knowledge about what matters most to those around us. There is a young man next door who loves working on his car, which means revving the engine way more than one might think necessary and at times some might think a little intrusive to rest. This matters to him - so when the used suspension parts are hanging out at the side of the yard for a little longer than I might want, I just have to turn the cheek on that one. To love, we add knowledge and understanding - because both will help our love to grow.
The result - we will see the difference between what is important and what is not. Love opens our eyes, knowledge enhances our understanding, and our understanding creates a culture in which each of us may grow. What is important to us may pale in comparison to what another sees as important. We must remember to balance our responses to each other with the love that comes from Christ. Only then will we gain deeper understanding of how God wants us to reach a hurting world. Just sayin!

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