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
These passages are so full of practical inspiration on living the Christian life. Gratefulness, humility, unity, tenderness, compassion, saying no to grumbling and arguing – what do all these things have in common? They all flow from a heart full of love.
It doesn’t say “that your service may abound”, or “that your sacrifice may abound”, or “that your knowledge of theology may abound”. It say’s “that your love may abound”. It all comes down to love.
Before bed, as I’m reflecting on how I lived out my faith that day, I often fall into the trap of looking at my “works”. Was I patient today? Was I compassionate? Was I generous? Was I slow to anger? Most of the time… ok, ok – every time – I fall short in various areas and I think to myself – I need to work on kindness, or patience, or whatever I struggled with that day. But really, all these things flow out of a heart of love.
And I hate to say it, but so often, the area I’m truly falling short in, is simply love. 1 Corinthians 13 say’s I can do all kinds of acts of service, but if I’m not doing it out of a heart of love, I’m like a clanging gong. Who wants to listen to that?
I know the right things to do. I know the right things to say. But God looks at my heart and He knows when I’m being real and He knows when I’m faking it. And I’m so grateful that He has a heart of love toward this girl who falls short of the “love” mark way too often.
So I think our focus verse is so cool today. It lays out for us some fabulous benefits to having a heart abounding in love – we get insight, we get discernment, we get filled with the fruit of righteousness and we get to glorify God! But it also makes it clear that we’re not on our own here. If you struggle with having a heart full of love – and we all struggle with that at different times in our lives – we can pray for a heart abounding in love. Paul does it and it would be a wise practice for us, as well. Especially if, like me, worries, whiners and troubles tend to squeeze the love right out of your tender little heart. It really does all come down to love.
Father, please forgive me for doing the right things without having the right heart. Please grow the love in my heart til it’s at the abounding level. I pray that my heart would be so full of love that, as your word say’s, I would “become blameless and pure, ‘a child of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then I will shine among them like stars in the sky as I hold firmly to the word of life.” In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.