Gospel Friendship

Pray: 

Jesus, teach us to know the depth of Your love so that we may live in its light.

 

Read: PHILIPPIANS 1:7-11

[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. 

 

Reflect: What motivates best?

Before Paul gets to his prayer, he expresses heartfelt affection for the church. Look again and spot the different ways Paul conveys his friendship in verses 7,8. Can you feel its depth? For whom do you feel such tenderness?

Paul's prayer starts with love, and we frequently need to start there too. But this love is combined with "knowledge and depth of insight" (9), so that they might be able to "discern what is best" (10). The Philippians lived, as we live, in a world where we need discernment to make wise decisions. Such abounding love, and deepening wisdom and discerning insight will result in us approaching the coming day of the Lord with confidence, our baskets filled with the fruit of righteousness (11).

Paul prays for those things that lie at the heart of the Christian life--love with discernment, an ability to identify and choose what is best, and a Christ-empowered life whose fruit will last--ending with the ultimate goal, that all this will happen to "the glory and praise of God" (11).

 

Apply: 

Take this prayer and turn it into a prayer for the community of faith to which you belong.

 

Pray: 

Loving God and gracious Father, thank You that You have spared Yourself nothing in revealing Your love.

 

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