February 3, 2011
Read: Philippians 1:9-18
This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. —Philippians 1:9
In Singapore, the Chinese New Year season’s social and business dinners often begin with a dish consisting of salads, dressings, pickles, and raw fish. The name of the dish, Yu Sheng, is a pun that sounds like “year of prosperity.” It is traditional for those present to toss the salad together. As they do, certain phrases are repeated to bring about good fortune.
Our words may express our hopes for others for the year ahead, but they can’t bring about good fortune. The important issue is—what does God want to see in us in the coming year?
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expressed his desire and prayer that their love “may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” (1:9). The church had been a great tower of support for him (v.7), yet he urged them to continue to grow to love others. Paul wasn’t talking about intellectual knowledge but knowledge of God. Love for others starts with a closer relationship with Him. With a fuller knowledge of God, we can then discern between right and wrong.
Giving our best wishes to others for the coming year is fine. But our heartfelt prayer should be that we abound in love, so that we may be “filled with the fruits of righteousness . . . , to the glory and praise of God” (v.11).
Teach me Thy patience! still with Thee
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong. —Gladden
People with a heart for God have a heart for people.