Monday, March 12, 2007

How to Have Joyful Relationships - Part II

Philippians 1:9-11

This passage builds on the first eight verses that provided an indication of what our relationships should be like in the church. You can read my notes from Philippians 1:1-8 here. I believe that verses 9-11 indicate a maturing progression that should be occurring within our "church" relationships.

"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God".

The Definitions:
  • "love" = agape, sacrificial love
  • "knowledge" = practical understanding of spiritual principles
  • "discernment" = ability to make correct decisions
  • "approve" = to affirm after having thoroughly tested
  • "excellent" = worthwhile, vital, different
  • "sincere" = pure, unmixed, genuine
  • "blameless" = not stumbling nor causing to stumble
  • "righteousness" = fairness, justice
  • "glory and praise of God" - the ultimate purpose of man

The Progression:
  1. We must be spending intimate time alone with God receiving His undeserved love and affection so that we will, "abound more and more" in sacrificial love. Only when we are saturated in the love of God can we progress in our relationships beyond selfish and superficial connections. If you doubt the importance of love--simply read the Gospels.
  2. We will understand how to apply spiritual principles into our lives and the lives of others only when we love sacrificially. Otherwise, we are working from our wounded and selfish inclinations and are prone to make great mistakes. Knowledge without love quickly becomes cold legalism.
  3. Notice that Paul doesn't say that when we lovingly speak knowledge into someone's life that we will be able to confront their failures. No, he says instead that we will be able to, "approve the things that are excellent". The result of Godly knowledge and discernment mixed with agape love is an incredibly positive approach to pointing out what is right in people's lives--not what is wrong!
  4. The process of speaking positively into someone's life progresses to our own sincerity (purity, perfection) and blamelessness (lack of stumbling). We become better people and look more like Christ when we lovingly encourage.
  5. The result of this sincere love is righteousness, justice, fairness. We seem to truly want the very best for those around us when we we're focusing on what they are doing right--and not so much on their faults.
  6. The final progression is the ultimate goal of man--to praise and glorify God. God is glorified when we are lifting each other up rather than dragging each other down.
It is from this platform of harmonious and loving relationships that the Gospel is most effectively proclaimed!


Speedcat Hollydale said...

The Lord loves a working man, and you have done some great work on your blogspot. It's nice to see a site like yours!

This is the first time I've read your page, and I will be checking your blog for new material when I have time.

Have a great day, Speedcat Hollydale

Dave Samples said...

Thanks, Speedcat!