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 ESV)
Paul wanted his readers, which includes you and I, to grow in love. The result of doing so (“so that”) is we are more able to approve (i.e. discern) the good things in life that are worth spending our time on from the bad that are nothing but worthless, earthly distractions.
The Greek work translated “approve” is δοκιμαζο (pronounced: dok-im-ad’-zo). It means to scrutinize in order to prove whether something is genuine or not. This word was used with respect to examining metals to see if they were truly precious and valuable or were deceptive look-a-likes.
There are plenty of things in life that vie for our attention. Most of them are distractions that do nothing for us but waste time (e.g. television). God did not create us to waste our lives. He created us to know Him and to pass that knowledge on to others. When we are filled with an overflowing amount of love for God and for others, we will become people who are not be enticed by things that seem important but are not – deceptive look-a-likes. We will become people who are focused on the right things.
After studying and meditating on this short phrase in verse 10, I came to realize the correlation between love and life. Many years ago I heard a pastor say that we can tell what we value by where we spend our money and where we spend our time. This is true. In America we spend billions of dollars a year on things that have no eternal significance. These things are not worthy of the amount of attention we give them. Living this way is a glaring sign of a lack of love.
Our society has been working very hard at eliminating the Bible from society in recent decades. But without it people cannot have true knowledge and discernment. And they cannot have love. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that our society is growing less and less loving. This is happening because each generation is spending less and less time with God and more and more time on things that deceptively offer fulfillment.
God wrote the Bible so we would know the proper way to live and have the right priorities. Sadly, we don’t realize the effects of our decisions because we, as a society, don’t respect His word. Our culture believes the teachings of the Bible are in error and eliminating it will make our society better. But the decline of our culture – and the lack of love that goes with it – proves that isn’t true.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.
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