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,
All of us started out as innocent children, readily reaching for the lollipop a stranger offers to us. As we grow older, we learn to be more guarded and discerning, to be careful of someone who hands us goodies. Paul’s words to the Philippian church exhorts people to grow in knowledge and discernment so that their love may abound. The word love used by Paul here is agape, meaning charity, brotherly love, good will…but doesn’t this sound contrary to what we know about the ways of the world? In trying to discern what’s truly good we can become cynical; the more we know about someone, we trust them less and love with reservation.
I had the mistaken notion that we should be innocent like children who love wholeheartedly and without judging, until I read the June 24 entry by Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest”, a daily devotion I’ve read many years ago that stuck with me:
Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.
Reconciled to Christ, we can distinguish between good and evil in spite of what we know of this world and of human nature. To the devil’s dismay, this discernment does not make us shy away from loving people or doing good works, but as Paul says, should abound more and more. This is the excellent thing we are to pursue, so that we remain pure and blameless until the day of Christ. And, we can do this because of Jesus.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation
Today, take a moment, wherever you are, to ASK God to move in your life: Share what’s on your heart, asking God to provide, protect and encourage you.