Father, as I read and meditate on your Word today, speak not only to my mind, but to my heart. Speak to me in ways that move me to deeper service for you.
Read PHILIPPIANS 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons[a]:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
- Philippians 1:1 The word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Romans 16:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8,12.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
As you begin this journey through Philippians, ask God to remind you of old truths and show you new things from his Word.
Love is at the heart of Christianity, so we are not surprised when Paul prays for the Philippians’ love – agapē in Greek – to ‘abound more and more’ (v 9). This sounds simple, but it needs thought. Contemporary understandings of love are often wrong-headed and Christians may have mistaken notions of what it means to be loving toward others. Someone might say, for example, that it’s wrong to challenge a non-believer to turn to Christ or to urge fellow disciples to press on in holiness. Rather, so the argument runs, we should ‘just love’ – which often betrays a desire to please people rather than God. This is not showing agapē love as the New Testament defines it.
Notice how verse 9 ties love closely together with ‘knowledge’ and ‘depth of insight.’ Gospel knowledge and gospel wisdom should shape our practice of love. For example, a proper knowledge of the gospel will lead us to share it with others; if we truly love non- Christians we will surely speak, since Jesus is their only hope. Similarly, if we have a clear insight into God’s purposes, we will urge other Christians to pursue holiness. This will not be done harshly but graciously and supportively, for we are fellow pilgrims with struggles of our own. Love, knowledge, and wisdom are closely intertwined, informing and enriching each other.
This is a high standard of love. How can we attain it? The answer is through – and only through – the power of God (v 6). Paul ‘yearns’ (see v 8, ESV) for the Philippians with a deep ‘affection.’ From where is this affection derived? Only from Christ himself (v 8). He shows us both the standard and the source of Christian love. Knowing such agapē love is an urgent need in both church and world. Who will you love today?
Commit to pray regularly for a non-Christian to come to Jesus. This may or may not happen quickly! Do we love them sufficiently to keep praying?
Jesus, thank you for the fellow believers you have placed in my life. Show me how I can bless them, encourage them, and strengthen them in their walk with you.
Last Updated on December 22, 2023 by kingstar