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Philippians 1: 10 …so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 

The Apostle Paul has just reminded the church at Philippi that God is witness to the fact that Paul “longs for” them with the love Christ gives him. He then says he prays that their love would “abound still more and more” and instructs them how “in real knowledge and all discernment”. Basically, Paul is encouraging them to grow in the knowledge of Christ—who He was and what He taught, so that their love could “abound more and more”. The more they love, the more they will know, and the more they will become like Christ.

Here in verse 10, Paul reveals what this love, knowledge, and discernment that leads them to be more like Christ equips them to do: “approve the things that are excellent” and “be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ”. Jesus is coming back and by becoming more like Christ they should strive to be sincere in their faith, and blameless in their actions.

Reading a good novel or watching a good movie or television program is an attractive pastime for many. Depending on the plot, the viewer can identify with one of the characters. In most every plot there are three basic characters in the storyline, the villain, the victim, and the savior.

In the storyline of our lives, the Bible identifies these three; Satan is the villain, humans are the victims, and Jesus is the savior. In our lives, just as in the books and movies, the villain and savior have allies and accomplices through whom they often operate. Each of them uses other humans in their bidding, either as influencers or as tangible facilitators. And just as in books and movies, it is hard to easily determine which are the good guys and which are the bad. In this passage, the Apostle Paul is urging the Philippians to love each other, learn about Jesus, and grow to be more like Him so that they will have discernment in sorting out who is who.

One last point today—Paul uses a phrase here, “until the day of Christ” that really connects to the beginning of this chapter. If you have been following this blog, you may recall that we discussed the ancient Hebrew hieroglyphic alphabet and that the word JOY transliterated from symbols representing separate or holy, doorway or pathway, to behold or gaze upon. Well, “the day of Christ” that Paul mentions here and in other letters, is what is waiting at the end of our journey. Paul is urging them to prepare.

Are you growing in the love and knowledge of Christ so that you can be more discerning regarding choices along your life journey?

Can you use your discernment to identify the characters in your life?

Can you identify their loyalties and intentions?

Are you preparing for the day of Christ… keeping your eyes fixed on that JOY only Christ can give?

Merciful Father, thank you for the opportunity to come before you to ask for knowledge and help in discerning relationships and intentions throughout our life journey. Thank you for the JOY that you make available to us through your Son Jesus. Keep us in the center of your will in all things. In His sweet and precious name, I pray. Amen.