Today’s post grew out of something I wrote to my kids, Rahel and Kaleb
The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Christians in eastern Macedonia: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent” (Phil 1:9-10)
Don Carson, who teaches at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago comments on this prayer: “The pursuit of such excellence does not turn on transparent distinctions between right and wrong. It turns, rather, on delicate choices that reflect one’s entire value system, one’s entire set of priorities, one’s heart and mind.”
In other words, excellence in loving– that is loving as Jesus loves – doesn’t come by making easy moral decisions (Shall i kill someone today?). It comes through the small, “insignificant” decisions we all make day in and day out. Much of the time, the decision isn’t between what’s right and what’s wrong. The bible or your pastor can’t tell you whether you should go to sleep or read this blog right now.
But over time, our lives are shaped by our small decisions to such a degree that our entire value system, our priorities and even our hearts and minds are molded for good or for bad.
Shall I stop to talk to my neighbour?
Shall I attend bible study tonight?
Shall I walk in the park?
Shall I go to sleep now?
Shall I watch this movie?
Shall I read my bible?
Shall I call my friend?
Shall I go to that party?
Shall I read this book?
Shall I pray right now?
Shall I exercise?
Shall I sign up to volunteer?
On and on it goes.
Make good small decisions, day by day, week by week, month by month. None of them will be absolutely good for you all of the time. But as you make those little good decisions, the Spirit will work.
Over time, Paul’s prayer will be answered. Your love will abound more and more by God’s grace. And that is excellent!