And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,Philippians 1:9(NASB)
Paul’s love for the body of Christ was a deep love that reflected the love he had for His Saviour and Lord. He grieved when they were slow of heart to learn, reprimanded them when they fell into sin, corrected them when they were lured into error, rejoiced with them as they grew in grace, and instructed them so they would become increasingly mature in the faith.
Paul’s great desire for the saints at Philippi was that they become rooted and grounded in the Word of truth, so that their love for God and their love for one another would continue to grow and multiply. His prayer for these brothers and sisters in Christ was that they would increase in knowledge and all discernment, as they became increasingly conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus. "And this I pray," he wrote in the opening section of his epistle, "I pray that your love may abound still more and more, in real knowledge and in all discernment."
The love of God is as unfathomable as it is eternal, and yet the Lord Jesus commanded us to love as He loved, and Paul prayed that love would overflow in our hearts. His difficult trials and the chains of tribulation that constrained him did not cause Paul to become bitter in his attitude towards God. Rather, he recognised that in all things, God, in His gracious-love and tender-mercy, was using them for good.
God's love is everlasting and indestructible. His love is infinite and without measure, and however much love has been poured into our hearts from above, there is always more room for His over-abounding love. His love flows from His well-spring of life and is a never-ending source and supply of all that is needed for life and godliness.
But it was not simply an abundance of love for which Paul prayed, but that their love would abound more and more in real knowledge and discernment. He prayed that the love in their hearts would be endowed with godly wisdom, and a knowledge of the holy that is able to approve things that are excellent, so that they may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.
And so Paul was enabled to pen godly insights and instructions as to the true meaning of abounding love. Paul knew that godly wisdom and spiritual understanding have their root in the love of God and his prayer is as much for us today as it was for the Christians at Philippi. Indeed, this should also be our continuous prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ – that our love increases and abounds, as we worship our heavenly King, grow in grace, and develop a more intimate knowledge of God.
O worship the King, all glorious above. O gratefully sing His wonderful love. Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendour, and girded with praise.
O measureless might, ineffable love, while angels delight to worship above. Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of prayer and for placing me in Your family as Your child. How blessed I am to be a member of the body of Christ, and I thank You for the example that Paul the apostle set, as he lifted up the body of Christ in prayer. I pray also for my brothers and sisters in Christ, that their love may increase and multiply and that they too grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, AMEN.
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