Our days and calendars didn’t take long to fill up with the shift of the seasons, and even more as the holidays approach. Projects, people, and priorities make demands on our time and our minds. I find myself sitting, daydreaming, and longing for “when things settle down” only to rush into the next task by the buzzing of the device in my pocket.
How do we find and live from the perspective of what really matters?
The noise can keep us so distracted that the real and worthy causes are drowned out. How can we silence the noise and find what it is that matters and live from that perspective?
Paul had this burden for the Philippian believers he had come to know and love so deeply. The praying women by the river, the confused jailor and his family, all became the church at Philippi to whom Paul wrote while confined to a prison in Rome. This group of ragamuffin believers struggled with unity, the pull of the culture, and the desire to honor Christ with their lives.
In his epistle to them, Paul wrote what he was praying for them. As surrendered believers in Christ, we can take this personally and allow the God-breathed words to shape our days as well.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation- the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ- for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”Philippians 1:9-11 NLT
He tells them we must increase in three virtues to determine what really matters: love, knowledge, and discernment.
WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE MORE AND MORE.
The Philippian believers were having a hard time finding unity among themselves. Our Western culture is marked by disunity to be sure. But we have allowed that disunity and “you do you” mentality to infiltrate the body of Christ. We live with heels dug in rather than arms open, making a mockery of the church of Christ. When we extend agape love, (the love of God) towards others, we demonstrate Christ to a lost and dying world.
Agape love is love that finds unity in Jesus rather than highlighting the divisions and places of disagreement. When we seek to love like Jesus, then we leave space for the grace and conviction of Jesus to do His completing work, both in them and in us. Let us love more and more, and thus demonstrate Him to others.
WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE BY GROWING IN KNOWLEDGE.
Blind love is not deep love. The more you know and yet love, the greater that love is. God knows us better than any other person could possibly know us. He knows my sin, my faults, my pretenses, my failures. And He loves me with far greater delight and joy than anyone ever has. Through Paul, God commissions us to do likewise to gain perspective of what really matters.
WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE BY DISCERNMENT
The word in the original language translated “knowledge” in Philippians 1:9 is a word meaning first-hand knowledge. It is knowledge that comes through first-hand experience and relationship. When we lay aside the commentaries and studies by other people and begin to get into the Word of God for ourselves, we will gain the firsthand intimate knowledge we need to better understand what really matters. Discernment comes by the Word of God.
Some translations use the word understanding instead of discernment. Understanding cuts through the hazy morals. Believers are to love with increase, with knowledge, and with the understanding that clarifies what really matters. Blind love is not deep love. The more you know and yet love, the greater that love is. -Mariel DavenportCLICK TO TWEET
When we press into God’s Word and seek to know Him better through it, the Spirit of God will overflow His love through us (Romans 5:5), offer us the firsthand intimacy with Him we were made for and clarify the hazy distractions of this world.
When I remember to focus on love, knowledge, and discernment, the distractions seem to fade and that which really matters begins to rise to the surface for my day. What is keeping you from determining what really matters?
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