Christian love

Philippians Bible page

 

Philippians 1:9-11 – 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.

God rejoices over you when He adopts you as His child, and He does not stop there.  Our heavenly Father trains His children to be productive citizens of His kingdom.  We experience the process of sanctification, whereby God continually removes our old worldly nature and replaces it with godliness.  Our capacity for holiness is instantly made possible when we are born-again, but the practice of godliness takes a lifetime of maturing in Christ.  Paul provides insight into this process in Philippians 1:9-11.

Paul strongly desires for the Philippians to abound in love more and more.  He wants them to excel in love so they will be pure and blameless on the day they meet Jesus face-to-face.  We will not attain perfection in our thoughts, affections, and behavior while we are in the flesh, but absolute purity and blamelessness is still the goal.  We who are in Christ now bear His name, and we long for our lives to be consistent with that name.  It is all about love.  God is love, and He sent Christ in love.  Christ went to the cross because of His love, and He now teaches us to love.  In fact, we are only capable of love, because God first loved us.  So, how do learn to abound in love until our lives are consistent with the name of Christ?

Paul points to knowledge and discernment as keys to abounding in godly love.  First, God gives us the capacity to love.  He then begins to change our affections and teach us how to love.  We learn what to love according to God’s heart, and we learn how to love according to God’s ways.  And so, we pursue knowledge of God through the Bible.  We pour over His Word in order that we will know His heart and train our own hearts to respond in godliness.  We read and study the Bible, seek opportunities to be taught, and pursue friendships that will assist our productivity of Christian love.

Our motivation is increased by the return of Christ and our desire to please our heavenly Father.  We who know God personally will certainly want to bring glory and praise to His name.  Our God is so good to us.  How could we want anything less?  We should also take great heart knowing Jesus is coming back, and it could be today!  This broken sinful world will pass away, and full redemption will come.  Jesus wins, so let us press on in love and righteousness.  Rejoice in the day and be glad in it.

The Christian life must be motivated and informed by love. Without love we are only clanging symbols. But this was never intended to be a wishy-washy, undefined, sentimental love. It is the love of Christ. Hence, it must be a love governed by Biblical principles and exercised with judgment. – James Montgomery Boice

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