The second week of Advent offers us yet another epistle reading with a very Wesleyan flavor.
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 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)
The first week, you might recall, offered us a very Wesleyan 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13. In a similar manner, Paul prays here that love might abound among the Philippian Christians so that they might be be blameless on the day of Christ. When the Lord appears, he will be looking for evidence of actual new life. Persistence in Christ and life that bears fruit are what matter.
“Abound” is small word for a large quantity. The Philippians should have a “whole lotta love,” but even that’s not the last word. Their abundance of love should grow ever larger. It is this ever-increasing abundance of love that leads to eschatological confidence.
Love is more than good intentions, and it is even more than well-intended actions. If you really want to love, you should love intelligently – with discernment. Paul prays for love that grows in “knowledge and depth of insight.” Love requires your brain as much as your heart.
All of this comes from our union with Christ, so that God might be glorified.