…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:11).
Notice that the “Fruit of Righteousness,” the right behavior expected of you as a Christian, comes from the same source as righteousness itself.
You can’t manufacture fruit any more than you can manufacture righteousness, so stop trying.
Seriously—knock it off.
If you want the fruit of righteousness, you’re going to have to let God develop it in you. It goes back to what we were talking about yesterday. As you grow in knowledge of God’s word, God can use that knowledge to develop wisdom and discernment in you. You will know the right thing to do, and you will be empowered to do it.
Remember, God’s got a vested interest in you. He wants to give you wisdom and discernment so that you can glorify him. In a man that might sound self-seeking; in God, it just sounds right.
So let God do what he does. He’s really, really good at it.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…(Philippians 1:9-10)
Love without understanding is dangerous. Love alone can be misguided, and can lead to rash, emotion-driven decisions that sometimes do more harm than good.
Was that a head nod? I thought so.
That’s why God always seeks to guide our love with knowledge. Knowing God’s Word, understanding what it teaches, allows you to love in strength and truth, not just sentiment. This kind of love doesn’t enable—it empowers.
Spend some time in the Word today. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to teach you the best way to love the people around you, with a love that will further the Kingdom of God, and will keep you on right path.
They get love.
You get wisdom.
God gets glory.
Triple-crown win, Beloved.
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Hear that, Beloved. God is at work in you. He’s the Cosmic Contractor, and he’s building a temple for his Holy Spirit. He calls that temple You. Of course he’s not finished yet—he won’t be until the day you stand before him. So don’t stress because you’re not “there” yet. You don’t even know where “there” is. Just let God keep doing what he’s doing.
Reasons why God is more trustworthy than your average contractor:
- God knows everything. Your contractor may or may not have finished high school.
- God is totally in control of your situation. Your contractor is limited by your budget, local building codes, and those pesky laws of physics.
- God loves you completely, and wants only that which will be the best for you. Your contractor—well, I hate to break it to you, but he’s in it for the money.
So you’ve got a few rough edges—OK, so you’re a mess. It won’t be forever.
As a matter of fact, your forever is going to be amazing.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now… (Philippians 1:4-5)
Who did you pray for yesterday? Were you able to pray with joy? Paul could, because he was praying for fellow believers. There is a sweetness that comes when you are praying for a “partner in the gospel.” Knowing that they are saved frees you to pray for their sanctification, to pray that they would draw closer to Christ every day.
Pick someone who is your partner in the gospel. It can be the same person you prayed for yesterday, or it can be someone else. I’m not keeping track. Pray for them, that God will draw them closer and closer to himself, and cause them to be conformed to the image of Christ, even this day.
Who knows? Someone out there may be praying for you.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
I thank my God every time I remember you (Philippians 1:3).
When I was in college I had a prayer wall. This was an area of my room where I had pictures of friends and family posted. There was no rhyme or reason to the arrangement—just dozens of snapshots stapled to the wall of a dorm room. Every time I looked at those pictures, I remembered people who were important in my life. Some I saw every day; some were thousands of miles from me. Just seeing those photos prompted me to pray for them.
This is what Paul is talking about. These are people he cares for, people who are important to him. He wants them to know that he is thinking of them, covering them in prayer even when he can’t be with them.
Who is on your prayer wall, Beloved? Whose face popped into your mind when you read this Scripture? Spend some time in prayer for them today. Start your week by bringing someone you love before the throne of God.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Have you ever been knocked down?
Sure you have.
Literally and/or metaphorically you’ve been beaten, torn up, kicked around, thrown down and ground into the dirt until there’s grit in your eyes and blood in your mouth.
But you survived.
After all, here you are, enjoying this delightfully uplifting message.
As much as I love reading about the armor of God, I think the message of the cross is most powerful, most potent, when your armor has cracked, your shield has caved in, and your sword has been knocked from your hand.
That’s when resurrection comes in.
They say that God will never give you more than you can handle. Perhaps it is better to say that he will never give you more than He can handle.
He is the one who lifts you up from the dust.
From the mire.
From the muck.
From the grave.
That is the treasure you carry in your little jar of clay.
Carry it with joy, Beloved.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned… (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
You may feel as if they’re all out to get you.
Maybe they are.
You may think that God’s left you to face it alone.
Never gonna happen, my friend.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair… (2 Corinthians 4:7-8).
Some days…it just doesn’t make sense.
Any of it.
This world, with its evil and darkness and pain. I mean, how is it that they can’t see the wickedness all around them for what it is? How can they so willingly embrace lies?
And am I any better? Failing over and over to do what I know I should do, to be who I know I should be?
Even God, for that matter. Seriously, what is he doing in this world? In my life?
I suppose he knows—I’ve bet my forever on it. Still…
It all seems so hopeless sometimes…except that Hope Himself lives within me.
And within you.
He is the treasure in this clay jar. I will not despair.
Hold on to Hope today, Beloved.
Treasure the treasure.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed… (2 Corinthians 4:7-8).
There’s a science experiment I remember doing as a kid. You take a metal container of some kind—it has to be metal, and it has to have a lid. Fill the container about halfway with water and set it on the stove. Heat it until the water inside is boiling, then turn off the heat and screw the lid onto the container.
Then you wait…
As the container cools, it begins to implode. It’s like some giant, unseen hand is squeezing the can. The whole thing crumples right before your eyes. Way cool.
Why does the can crumple? Pretty simple, really. By boiling the water, you increase the air pressure inside the can and drive much of the air out. As the can cools, the air pressure drops, and the can tries to suck more air in—except it can’t, because you put the cap on. You end up with a can that has very little air inside. The outside air pressure—the weight of the world, so to speak—literally crushes it.
Tell me you’re making the connection.
You, Beloved, are not empty inside. You are filled with the treasure of His truth. This world and all its pressures—crushing as they are—will not destroy you.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7).
The greatest of gifts. The very truth of God’s love and sacrifice on our behalf. A message with the power to change lives and worlds, and God puts it where?
Seriously? Weak, fumbling, neurotic us?
Well, he tells us, doesn’t he, Beloved? He did it to show the world—and remind us—that it is his power at work and not ours.
Look, I don’t know what big plans you have for this week, but we both know…
Not without Him.
Furthermore, I don’t know what troubles are coming your way this week. For some of us, it’s bound to be pretty rough. So, God wants you to know, here and now, that He is the one working in you…through you…
Whether today’s a hunkering down kinda day or a venturing forth kinda day, you are not doing it on your own. Which, we can both admit, is a good thing.
Happy Monday, Beloved.