Philippians 1:9-11 – “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”
The warmth in this Pauline prayer comes partly from his confidence that the Philippian Christians were his partners in the gospel (vs 5). He counted on their prayers (verse 19). He depended on their godly love for him. At the end of this letter, Paul returns to this theme of partnership, rejoicing in the Philippians' love and thoughtfulness (4:10-19).
Godly love requires growth and maturation. The way this love grows is through an increase in “knowledge.” Paul expresses this same thing in Colossians 1:9 as meaning “knowledge of God’s will.” God is Love! His will is for us to LOVE; love Him with all our heart, and love others with the love He gives. The more we understand the love of God, the more our own love “may abound.” The more we KNOW the love of God, the deeper will be our insight on God’s design for serving together. The deeper our insight the more practical discernment we will have for what is pure and good and best. Christian love is not mere sentiment, it is rooted in knowledge and understanding of the very nature and heart of God. And so Paul prays for his partners so that they may “abound” in this love.
Christians are to practice in their relationships what is morally and ethically superior to the sinful nature of humans. We just cannot love like this without prayer. The high calling of Christians in this life is to be without any mixture of evil and not open to censure because of moral or spiritual failure. That’s why Paul prays for his partners to be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. On that day we will all give an account and our love will be revealed for what it really is!
The more we know the love of God the more we recognize our need to be emptied of selfish and self-serving love that we might be filled with God’s righteous and holy love. Greater love has no one than that which God’s Son revealed in laying down His life for us sinners. Paul prays for his partners to be filled with this kind of love that comes through Jesus Christ and produces the fruit of a love that does the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, for the right reason. This results in the glory and praise of God – it’s His love in us! Let me encourage you to pray for your partners in this same way!
Prayer Challenge: Become more discerning and sensitive to the importance of praying for your partners in the Gospel. Join together in prayer that God’s love may so abound, that it will be clear to you and your partners the best and right ways to love and represent Him.