Philippians 1.7-11 – Paul’s Prayer

After expressing confidence in the future work and grace of God (v.6), Paul now explains his love for the Philippians and prays for them.

Paul says, essentially, that he loves the saints at Philippi with the same self-sacrificing love that Jesus showed for the entire world (vv.7-8, cf. John 3.16). He knows they are not fair-weather friends (v.7b), and knows they are in this for the long run (v.10).

The prayer in vv.9-11 is powerful, and something that we could all benefit from praying today.

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

Even though there is plenty of love on show already (vv.7-8), praying for more is never a bad thing! Paul prays for love with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…How often we emphasise being full of love, but empty headed. A full heart can actually go with a full head (cf. 1 Corinthians 5.1-7).

Today then, yes, be as full of love as you can possibly be, then pray for more! But, in addition to this, pray and ask God for love that comes with knowledge and discernment. It is possible to be full of both! 

If you are worried that this doesn’t really feel like a very ‘Christian’ position, you know, we ought to just focus on loving and not too much on the thinking…, read the end of v.11 again, we pray for this for

…the glory and praise of God.

Full of love, yes!

Full of knowledge and discernment, also yes!

Do You Know?

Here in Job 37.14-20 we see Elihu giving Job one last piece of advice and he asks, simply, are you really all that you think you are, Job? Do you know all that you think you know?

“Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
Do you know how God lays his command upon them
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?
Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a cast metal mirror?
Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?

Despite his relative youth (32.6-10), Elihu seems to be hitting closer to home with his questions of Job. Rather than just suggest that Job must have sinned somewhere, somehow (32.3), Elihu seems to have considered his response a little more deeply.

Elihu asks probing questions of Job to show that, really, you can’t understand what is truly going on here (Do you know…do you know…can you, like Him…teach us…). Elihu still holds to this idea that Job has sinned, but at least he frames the idea better that the other counsellors on hand. At the core, Elihu seems to be saying, look Job, you cannot understand all of these wonderful workings of God, so you have no chance of understanding the mystery of why you are suffering so. 

Elihu is right, isn’t he? We cannot know how the Lord lays out the skies as a master artist paints a picture, we cannot understand the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge, we cannot spread out skies, we cannot know ever truly know what to say to Him who sits on the throne, we just don’t know.

Where does this leave us? What does this leave us with?

It leaves us with trust, and with faith. There are things we will never see or understand this side of eternity (Isaiah 55.8-11), but, as Corrie Ten Boom said, 

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

So, learn all you can about our known God, and trust the unknown to Him!

The Knowledge of Him

Recently at Saar Fellowship I gave a message titled ‘Thinking Beyond Christmas’ wherein we looked at what happens now Christmas is over; so, Jesus was born, came, took on flesh, lived and walked among us, and what did this bring for you?

One thing we talked about was that this brought everything, drawing from 2 Peter 1.3-4.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
2 Peter‬ ‭1.3-4

We read that through the Divine power of Jesus, He has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, so, in other words, Jesus has available to you everything you need to live life in the way life was intended to be lived and everything you need to live a godly life. 

We see the really important – yet so often overlooked – part right after this, that this happens and is available to us through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence

Right there should be our priority as we approach a new year, a great opportunity to set goals and targets, to grow in the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence

People try so much and spend so much trying to improve their lives, yet this is pretty clear that Jesus has, in His Divine power, given us everything we need to life a wonderful abundant life, and that we grow in this life by growing in the knowledge of Him

Would you join me in this coming year of 2020 in committing to growing in the knowledge of Him?