World English Bible translation
1:7It is even right for me to think this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart, because, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long after all of you in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.
1:9This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ; 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Paul had begun his letter to the saints that were in Christ in Philippi by offering the grace and peace that comes from God and Christ. He had thanked God for them in that they shared the fellowship of the gospel with him from the very beginning. He told them that he could be confident that the one who had begun a good work in them would complete it on the Day of Christ.
Paul writes that it is right for him to feel such confidence because the Philippians are partakers of the grace of God with him. God has placed them on his heart. When Paul was on his second missionary journey, he and Silas had preached in the area of Galatia. They had wanted to go to the north to Bithnynia, but God prevented them from going there. Instead, Paul was given a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him to come and help him. Paul and Silas went to Macedonia and the conversion of the Philippians was a direct result.
In Paul's mind, God had given the Philippians to him as a responsibility and a trust. Paul was obligated to God for their spiritual growth and health. God had placed the concern for them in his own heart and had placed a concern for him in theirs. Paul took this responsibility very seriously.
So Paul prays that their love may abound, that it might grow more and more. He knows that if their love grows they will increase in knowledge and discernment. They will come to know the things that are excellent and will be without offense on their day of judgment. They will be filled with the fruits of righteousness. This righteousness comes through Jesus Christ and is to the glory and praise of God.
The love that Paul prays will abound in the Philippians is the same love that he feels toward them. God places that love in us through His Spirit. It is not a natural part of our lives. It is a gift from God. When God places this love on our hearts we must respond. We must allow our hearts to be filled with the righteousness that comes from Christ. This is yet another facet of the work that God is completing in us.
Who is God telling your heart that you must love today? What are the responsibilities that you have because of this love?
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