…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. You can, however, 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.
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. 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. 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 in right paths.
…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 Contactor, 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.
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, 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.
I thank my God every time I remember you. (Philippians 1:3)
I used to have 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 of these people 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? 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.
That’s a good Monday, there.
Last week I told you a story about a rather painful moment from elementary school. I had intended it to illustrate the power of storytelling, but as is so often the case with me, it took a little turn. In the end, the only power it really illustrated was the power of feedback.
Allow me to try again… Continue reading
It’s a lovely word.
Friends, I am taking a week off. I hope you mind, I hope you miss me, I hope you come back at the end of the week.
I’ll have a post up this Saturday, and we’ll get back to the One-a-Days next Monday.
God be with you, this week and all weeks.
I was in the 6th grade.
My class was doing some sort of choir pageant thingie. I had already had some notable successes on stage—perhaps you saw me in the 5th grade production of The Invisible Man? Well, you wouldn’t have actually seen me, given the character and all. In fact, I read the lines from off-stage and earned rave reviews from the class newspaper—On the Scene with Room 14! You could—and should—have seen me that same year portraying a giant cockroach. No, it wasn’t Kafka’s Metamorphosis. The psychiatric bill for that one would have been a bit high for elementary school. I was just a giant bug being chased by an equally giant can of Raid. Those who saw my performance were profoundly changed and/or disturbed. Ah, those public school tax dollars at work. Continue reading
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
But I don’t like to wait. I have plans and goals and ideas and God just isn’t working fast enough for me.
Besides, waiting seems so passive, so weak. Don’t I need to get out there and accomplish something?
I find it interesting that David says, “Be strong…and wait…” That seems to indicate that waiting takes strength and effort. It’s not passivity…it’s vigilance. In Psalm 130, the Psalmist waits for the Lord, “More than watchmen wait for the morning.” So I should wait, not sitting around aimlessly, but keeping my eyes peeled looking for him.
Sounds like trust.
Sounds like work.
You know, I’ll bet that if I were seeking God, if I were dwelling with him, as the earlier verses in this Psalm talk about, it would be easier to trust him, easier to see where he is working in my life, easier to wait for him.
Wait for the Lord.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. (Psalm 27:8)
This is part of that whole, “One thing I ask of the Lord…” idea we saw on Tuesday. Yesterday was a holiday, and it’s easy to get all “New Man”ish when you are outside your normal routine. Today, as you go back to the “real world,” the call to seek God can be harder to hear and obey.
God has placed within us the desire to know him. Sure, that desire gets twisted by sin and buried by the world, but it remains. Listen to the cry of your heart—it’s giving you good advice. Jesus tells us to ask, to seek, to knock. Take the time to do that today, not just this morning, but all through your day. Set the pattern.
Seek his face in the glorious sunrise.
Seek his face in the traffic.
Seek his face in the work you perform.
Seek his face in the face of your coworkers.
Seek his face at the grocery store.
Seek his face in your family.
Seek his face, Beloved.
It’s a good face.