Reflections on Philippians 1:10b


Philippians 1:9-11

9: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
10: so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
11: filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

I left off with approving what is excellent, a necessary but not sufficient component of Christian life and a chief reason for Paul's prayer for the Philippians, and for us. But the approval of what is excellent flows into the second reason Paul states for his prayer. "And may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ."

Paul prays for us and for our salvation. He prays that we can recognize and act upon what is excellent. Through the powers of discernment we are to choose what is BEST, not merely what is good. All creation is good, but much of creation is merely a way station on the path to God, and can be an obstacle to increasing holiness. What Paul calls on for us to do is to recognize the path to the One Thing Necessary, and through approving this path with our words, but more with our actions, to grow into purity and blamelessness.

Now surely, if so great a Saint as Paul lays this goal out before us, and certainly, if so great a Saint leads the company of Saints in praying for us, if we incline our wills the smallest amount, the spirit that is within us cannot fail to bring us a step closer. God desires the salvation of all, it is we who question whether we really want salvation or immolation in the goods of Earth. The acceptable sacrifice to the Lord is a humble and contrite heart, a life lived in approving what is excellent and transforming that approval into purity and blamelessness. We do none of this ourselves. Everything we do (other than sin) is aided by the power of God Himself. More--the prayers of all the Saints and the specific prayer that starts in this letter and resonates through eternity, are a beacon, a lighthouse, a strong signal that guides us home.

That the great Saint's prayer be not in vain, let us take one step closer today. One moment more reflecting on the Lord, one prayer more said in a calm moment, one sacrifice of love, one word of kindness, one helping hand, one moment of silence. Today we can pray for the people of Haiti who have suffered so great a disaster, we can pray that the storms out there still stay far from land and harming others, we can pray that those who do not know Christ come to know Him, we can pray through our actions and help someone in need, leading them to Christ not through words but through the corporal acts of mercy. We can love with hearts that long to see home, and we can join St. Paul in the dilemma he will express somewhat later in this great letter, "To live is Christ and to die is gain." One step at a time, we can move toward our Lord and savior. One prayer, one word, one action, one thought, one moment, any movement toward God is a movement away from the old life of separation and a step on the journey home.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 22, 2004 6:56 AM.

Prayer Requests--22 September 2007 was the previous entry in this blog.

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