by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
This is my prayer: that your love may abound ... in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best... (Phil. 1:9–10).
Here's how Christians pray for each other: "May your love increase! May love abound in church and family. For love is the fulfillment of the law. Whatever God requires of you and me is summed up in one word: love."
But that's not the whole of our prayer. Because we know that love is much more than an emotion, we also ask God for knowledge and discernment. You and I need insight to know how to act in certain situations. Life is full of choices. To go or not to go, to do or not to do, to speak or to keep silent, to join or to keep a distance. It's critically important that we make wise choices, based on Christian discernment.
The command to "love" all people needs clarification. What is the most loving thing to do for a homeless person? A misbehaving son? A hard-to-please neighbor? A hardened criminal? We must be "able to discern what is best" in all these situations.
Therefore we pray for discernment—not only for ourselves but also for others. When we pray for relatives and fellow Christians, we do more than ask God to preserve their health and well-being. Life is more than feeling good. Living is loving as Christ has taught us. And in learning to live and love we must make critical choices. "Teach them to love, 0 God; may they discern what is best and do what is right in your sight."
May your love keep growing together with your judgment.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version