What Happens When Love is Out of Balance?

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This is an interesting topic, because on one hand, 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that out of faith, hope, and love the greatest of these is love.

And yet, we’ll see today that sometimes love can be taken out of balance.

How is that love can be out of balance when the Bible talks so much about the importance of love?

Clearly, this is something the Lord is speaking to my heart right now, as you can see in my posts Rosilind – Student of Grace, Pursuer of Love and When Christians Do Everything Right and Still Get It All Wrong.

I’ll admit, now I feel a little intimidated having written these posts, because I still slip into my old critical ways.

And yet, we see a warning in the Bible to a church that emphasized love over doctrine and where it led them and the looming consequences if they didn’t repent.

It almost seems like a contradiction in Scripture, but we’ll find out that indeed it’s not.

And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.'”

Revelation 2:18-21

In my dad’s teaching on The Book of Revelation, he brings out some background on Thyatira. This was an industrious area where workers would belong to workers guilds and were pressured to worship the idols of that city.

Those who did not participate in this idol worship would be threatened with the loss of their job, so refusing to compromise came with a very high price.

Jesus said to the church in that area that He knew their works: Love, service, faith, and patience; however their emphasis on love overshadowed their emphasis on solid doctrine.

Instead of standing strong on the truth and principles of Scripture, they began to allow tolerance to seep in under the door.

They tolerated “that woman Jezebel”, who was leading believers into immorality and idolatry.

In other words, this church was moving into a more progressive doctrine much like we see today where churches and believers refuse to stand on the truth of what the Bible says about immorality:

  • God expects total abstinence before marriage
  • God hates divorce
  • Adultery is a sin that God hates
  • Those who practice sexual immorality will not inherit the kingdom of heaven

Sadly, there is little difference between the world and the church when it comes to sexual immorality. There is just as much fornication and adultery inside the church as outside the church.

A few years ago, I posted to my social media urging parents to not talk to their kids about safe sex, but about abstinence instead.

I was dismayed at the number of Christian parents who believe that it is unreasonable to expect their children to remain pure until marriage.

This is the result of of a Jezebel doctrine that has infected the church today, leading believers to commit sexual immorality and teaching them that there are principles of the Bible that are merely cultural.

She also led them into idolatry.

As we saw in the brief background of Thyatira, worshiping patron idols was an expectation in that area, and refusal could result in the loss of a job or business.

Christians were heavily pressured to give in to cultural norms just to survive.

And the church grew tolerant toward idolatry, permitting this practice because it kept them more culturally relevant.

The church in Thyatira resembles so much of the rise of the progressive church movement that emphasizes love over doctrine:

  • Embracing LGBTQ+
  • Teaching tolerance and political correctness
  • Elevating feminism
  • Permitting Eastern religious practices of yoga, meditation, contemplative prayer, energy healing, readings, and other similar practices that come out of pagan culture

God’s warning to the church at Thyatira was stern:

Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

Revelation 2:22-23

God’s warning is if this church doesn’t repent, he will bring sickness and great tribulation; even kill her children with death.


So that their tolerance and political correctness does not infect the other churches.

God will not be mocked! And the church in Thyatira was making a mockery of God, teaching that God would simply look the other way at their blatant heretical teaching of immorality and idolatry.

He wasn’t going to let it continue, and the result would be great sickness and death – and we see spiritual sickness and death happening all over the church today.

There is a remarkable numbness to fear the Lord in the house of God.

There is a great callousness, even arrogance, when a pastor preaches on holiness, sanctification, and a call to adhere to all of what God commands.

There is even a mockery of those who seek to remain true to all of Scripture, without cultural filters.

But there was a remnant of believers who didn’t give in to progressivism, and Jesus addresses them:

Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—’He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.

Revelation 2:24-28

Those who kept His works to the end would be given power over nations and the morning star.

They may be suffering now. They may be made a mockery now. They may be outcast and considered old-fashioned, bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, and all other kinds of names, but just hang on!

One day, Christ will come and will prove that the power of those in progressive Christianity who have suppressed the truth of Scripture is a mere mirage – and He will give power over the nations to those who have chosen to remain faithful to His Word!

Now, how does this line up with Revelation 2:1-7?

Remember, Jesus rebuked the church in Ephesus for elevating doctrine over love. Now he’s rebuking the church in Thyatira for elevating love over doctrine.

Doesn’t this seem contradictory?

Indeed it is not.

Dear sister: Love must infuse our doctrine, but doctrine must inform our love.

If we allow doctrine to overtake our love, we grow critical and self-righteous. But if we allow love to overtake our doctrine, we grow permissive and carnal.

This is why the church must abide in the Word, make the Word her dwelling place, and daily seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

We must make fellowship with the Holy Spirit our life practice, because He will lead us into all truth (John 16:13)!

If we don’t rely on the Holy Spirit to help us keep both doctrine and love in proper balance, we will get it wrong every time.

We will either fall into self-righteousness and a critical spirit or permissivism and carnality. And both will result in God’s judgement against us.

Let your love infuse your doctrine, but let your doctrine inform your love.

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