The apostle Paul prayed the following prayer for those at Philippi. Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” I wish to encourage you by breaking down the elements addressed within this prayer.
First, “that your love may abound still more and more.” We know that love is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-40). Your love for God and your neighbor should abound – that is, that love should be present in your life in a great quantity. Over time, you should sense that your love is growing. How can you be a true disciple of Jesus Christ and have a small amount of love? 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” Seek to be a person characterized by love. Pray that God would help you to be more loving to others.
Second, that you may have “knowledge and all discernment.” The writer of Hebrews criticized his audience for their lack of spiritual maturity in Hebrews 5:12-14 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” You need to grow to be spiritually mature and not remain a babe in knowledge and discernment. Over time you should work to increase your spiritual knowledge and discernment – that comes from being into the Word and applying it in your life. Seek wisdom; pray for wisdom. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Third, “that you may approve the things that are excellent.” Your choices in life and the things that you approve should be excellent. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” Don’t just accept any and everything; make critical judgment about what you approve in your life. Pray to God that you would make the right choices for the things that you approve and that you would be pleasing to your God in what you do. This can happen when you seek to be led by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Fourth, “that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” Sincerity is opposed to hypocrisy. Your Christian life must be genuine. There should be no un-repented sin or offense in you. Instead, seek to be a pure, genuine follower of Jesus Christ. God knows where your faults are. Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Pray to God to show you where you may have hypocrisy or sin in your life
Fifth, that you may be “filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ.” When the Holy Spirit lives within you, you will bear His fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” You will also perform good works. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Are you filled with the fruits of righteousness? This righteousness is by Jesus Christ. It is according to His doctrine, through the power of his grace and a result of His Spirit within you. Pray to God to fill you with His Holy Spirit to result in fruits of righteousness.
Finally, when you abound in love, when you have spiritual knowledge and discernment, when you approve things that are excellent, when you are sincere and without offense, and when you are filled with the fruits of righteousness, then your life will be “to the glory and praise of God.” This is supported by scriptures such as John 15:8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Also, others will see your good works and glorify God. Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” 1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
A righteous life praises and glorifies God. God has done so much for you by giving His Son to die for you and by giving you so many spiritual blessings. 1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.” Therefore, my encouragement to you is to love Him enough to live the kind of life that will bring glory and praise to Him.