Each Friday I will be posting on the week’s discussion from the book of Philippians at Philter 48. You can check out the other posts by clicking the link provided.
Continuing through Philippians 1:9-11:
(v.9) And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight
Paul prays for Christians to abound in love. Love for others seems to be the cry of his heart as he speaks to the churches:
And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you. ~1Thessalonians 3:12
And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. ~Ephesians 3:17
My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. ~Colossians 2:2a
And, of course, the famous chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13, ends with “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Some seem to think this is not a major theme of the Christian life. I’m not sure how they can defend such a notion. It is the cry of Paul’s heart because it is the essence of our Lord and Father. God is Love. Without love we do not know God (read 1 John). As we grow more and more in our knowledge and discernment, we will be more grounded in love, grounded in God.
How do you know if you’re abounding in love? Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and insert your name in place of the word:
(Love) is patient, (love) is kind, (it) is not envious. (Love) does not brag, (it) is not puffed up. (It) is not rude, (it) is not self-serving, (it) is not easily angered or resentful. (It) is not glad about injustice, but (it) rejoices in the truth. (It) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
It’s a simple but effective test. The areas in which one may need help are easily exposed.
But why are we to grow more and more in love through knowledge and every kind of insight?
(v. 10) So that…
you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
Discern/approve means to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
We are to test, to examine, to scrutinize. It reminds me of those old movies where a cowboy would bite into a coin to see if it was real. We are to examine all things to see if they are genuinely excellent things to add to our lives.
Man!!! Not much gets past a test like that. Many things are detrimental to love. If we are not concerned about what is excellent, if we choose to let things into our lives which can tear down rather than build up, we will hurt our witness and may not stand in confidence before Him.
Why do we need to live sincere and blameless lives until Christ returns?
sincere – found pure when unfolded and examined by the sun’s light
blameless – without offense, not troubled by a consciousness of sin
On the day of Christ’s coming we are all going to be unfolded and examined in the sun’s light — the Son is the Light of the world. Will we be troubled by a consciousness of sin? This speaks so strongly to me of the passage from 1 John:
Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. (2:28 )
Sometimes the call seems too high, even unattainable. I am thankful it’s not entirely up to me, as Paul makes clear in chapter 2:
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (v.12b-13)
The green part of the passsage gives me hope. He doesn’t call me to something He won’t help me through. He will do the work which He began, so that we may stand before Him on “the day of Christ Jesus…”
(v.11) filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Abounding in love while testing what is excellent, will cause us to stand before Him “filled with the fruit of righteousness.” The fruit of the Spirit comes through our relationship with Jesus. We will be filled with the fruit if we are filled with the Spirit, and we are filled with the Spirit when He comes within. The closer we move to Him, the more we want of Him, the more we will be filled with Him. Then…THEN the glory and praise will be to God.
Do you desire to bring glory to His name? I do. I want more of Him. I want more of His love to flow from me to others. Therefore, I must test, I must see what is genuinely excellent and add that to my life. Then I will share the good things, the fruit of His righteousness by loving others. And He will be glorified.
This is Paul’s prayer for us.
Pray it for yourself.
Pray it for your family and friends.