A PRAYER FROM PRISON, (PART 2)

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9

In the last post we looked at what it means to have a love that abounds in knowledge and all discernment. That is, we are told to develop a love that grows as it understands God’s word and is able to determine the truth from the false. Most of the world’s “wisdom” is accepted without question because it appeals to the flesh. If we aren’t careful, we find ourselves hearing and repeating what sounds right, without considering whether it lines up with God’s word. Why do we do this? Maybe we hear what the world is saying more than we hear what God is saying. The sheer repetition of any mentality is likely to effect our thinking and our actions towards God and others.

Our text tells us to stand apart from all that. We relate to others in a loving, godly and right manner by growing in knowledge of his word and in being sensitive to apply what God has told us in his word. A great example of this is the temptation to retaliate when someone has hurt us. While the world would justify revenge, God’s word would say to not even enjoy seeing it applied. (Lev. 19:18)

We can’t go about our lives and the many choices it brings by accepting everything indiscriminately. Paul goes on to tell the Philippians that the benefit of a knowledge based on God’s standard of right and wrong is that we will be able to “approve the things that are excellent.” This goes beyond the ability to know good from evil. It is the ability to determine good from best. He was telling them they needed to know the difference between certain things so that priorities could be established and they would seek what is truly important. To be able to approve the things that are excellent is to be able to look at both sides of a choice to determine what really counts. When we are faced with choices of how to use our time and resources, how do we distinguish not only the bad from the good, but the good from the best? This is the result of abiding in God’s word. In so doing, Paul prays that they will be sincere, and without offense. This is in contrast to the Pharisees of that day, who were religious without depth. Instead, give no one a reason to think Christianity is no different from the world.

Last, Paul encourages them to persevere in the long run, to continue to be without offense until the day of Christ”. This refers to the time when believers will finally be glorified and will stand blameless in the sight of Christ. The full realization of our salvation will be experienced. It will be a day when we will be glorified, when Christ will appear and believers will be assessed, not for salvation, but for rewards according to their works. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the practicality of his word. Thank him for his care to tend to the details of your life, and for his faithfulness when our choices aren’t the best. Confess any squandering of the time he has given and ask him to reveal any choices you need to reverse.

For Further reading: Romans 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Phil. 4:8