By Brooke Holt
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians 1:9-11
Paul’s great prayer for the church in Philippi was that their love for God and for each other “may abound more and more.” Each day was a miracle, a gift from the Lord, and an opportunity to receive the abundance of God’s love for the day. Even in prison, Paul lived in that miracle and opportunity. His prayer was that all of God’s people would do the same, especially his beloved friends in Philippi.
It is interesting to read through the progression of Paul’s letter. Here it seems he is saying that the abounding love of the Lord leads to knowledge and discernment. How might this happen? As God’s people marvel at his abundant love each day and choose to live lives soaked in that love, they are transformed. As they are loved, they love him more, and then they are empowered to love others more as well as themselves. As their love increases, their hearts become more like Jesus. They love the things that Jesus loves and long for the things for which Jesus longs—fellowship among the church, evangelism of those outside the church, and building the kingdom of God through preaching the Gospel and living the Gospel. There is a natural realignment of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions when the love of God occupies him or her.
So, Paul prays that they may abound in love so that their lives may abound to the glory and praise of God. Have you ever considered that your first and most important step in obedience to the Lord is knowing and believing that you are perfectly loved by him? When you know that God loves you and is for you, you will want to know him better and want to be led by him into that good and perfect will. It is then that your heart is transformed. It is in that process that you become like Jesus Christ.
It is not in your proving yourself to God or following the rules just right. No amount of working, performing, or striving will cause God to love you more or even cause God to love you less. As Graham Cooke says in his “Inheritance” talk, “God loves you because he loves you because he loves you... because that’s his nature. He loves all the way, all the time.” Your invitation is to soak in the love of God that is unconditional and perfectly secure. That is how your life will change, and you will grow in the righteousness of Christ. It is that tree analogy. As the roots of your life are anchored in love, you will grow up out of that love and produce the fruit of righteousness or the fruit of the Spirit.
This Advent season, we are called to make ourselves ready for the second coming of Christ. We are called to watch and wait, to live in his perfect and holy light, to turn from our sins and receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. That is a high and holy calling, yet the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself to meet the Lord is to live in his love and to allow that love to abound more and more in your life and through your life.
How is the Lord inviting you to allow his love to abound in you today? Marvel at his unconditional and steadfast love. If you have time, check out Graham Cooke’s “The Inheritance” found on Spotify or YouTube. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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