Today we are going to look at the aspect of discernment.
I think there were questions of maturity in Philippi. We know of the story of Paul in Philippi where he was under the jailor’s care, and an earthquake broke the chains of Paul and opened the doors for escape. But Paul stayed knowing that if he left, it would doom the jailor to death. The jailor saw that decision and became a Christian.
Paul, a seasoned Christian, reminds them that they all are in the same place. That they are related through Christ Jesus to the Father. That he who began a good work will carry it on. But the implication is that for something to carry it on, it must first start.
This was probably a hindrance for some in Philippi. That they are who they are through Christ Jesus, and to not doubt that truth and to carry on. Not to be defined by culture or events around them, but to live in the truth of Jesus. Not to boast in one’s self, but to boast in Jesus. The true value is in that and nothing that we do ourselves.
This is an interesting prayer. He wants to see their love grow more and more, but there is a context in which this love should grow. That it is grounded in the truth and knowledge of what Jesus’ love provides. That is the conflict in the world. Jesus says love in who he was, but the world wants to define love absent of who He was.
This love is also rooted in discernment, or depth of insight. To beyond to see beyond the surface, and see how it is related to the Father. That we can use knowledge and God’s insight to make the best decisions. When we don’t live in this way, we find ourselves regretting the decisions later as revelation of our actions come to light. But if we do discern what is best, we can stand pure and blameless.
What does it mean to be filled with the fruit of righteousness? It means that when we live in this way, it becomes natural. That you can be grounded, grow your love in a way that God can use you, and we will be able to act in that day against our sinful and fearful nature.
This is what Paul wanted of them, and for us. That we are all partners by being connected to the Father through Jesus. He doesn’t isolate Christian leaders from non-leaders. We are all in the same place. This concept of spiritual growth isn’t something that is just to be defined or just agreed upon (but that has to happen as well), but must be continued forward and to be lived out!
Let our lives be a reflection of Him!
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)
9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, (ESV)
9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (ESV)
11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (ESV)