CHRISTIAN MATURITY

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

This prayer by Paul is important because it outlines what spiritual maturity should look like. A Christian grows in proportion to His love for Jesus. Notice it also says our love should abound more and more. Moreover, Christian love is sacrificial, giving love. In addition to being abounding love, it is also discerning love. The heart and mind work together so that we distinguish what really matters, right priorities, striving for excellence but pure and blameless. Christian love must be rooted in wisdom from God’s Word if we are to love God and man in ways honouring to God.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” John 6:22

Good works must be an outcome of our love for God “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus”. Jesus said it like this:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Jesus made it possible for God, the Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to do good works, to “bear much fruit” and apart from being in Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit “you can do nothing“. How often do we quench the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and thereby grieve Him? I fear it is much more than we like to admit.

Finally this prayer acknowledges that Christ is going to return and that we should be pure and blameless for that day: “so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ“.

IS YOUR LOVE ABOUNDING MORE AND MORE?

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1:9-11

Christian growth is built on the foundation of God’s love. This love is the sacrificial love that God showed when He gave His Son to atone for our sins. It is the same love Jesus showed when He went to the Cross on our behalf. It is a sacrificial and giving love. To enable us (believers) to share this love with others God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirits.

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

A lamp requires oil to function. Our Spirit was always meant to be the vessel for the Holy Spirit. At the Fall, the Holy Spirit departed from Adam and Eve. They died spiritually then, their bodies died almost 900 years later.

Notice also that Paul prayed not only for abounding love but discerning love. The heart and mind need to work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment. This a major mark of maturity and evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.

As well, Paul prays that our love may abound with knowledge particularly of God’s Word that we may have spiritual wisdom and discernment. Only then will we be able to walk pure and blameless. To approve the things that matter, to decide the priorities, to spend time on those things that have eternal consequences, to do good works – to live eternal now.

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