“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment (αἰσθήσει, sensitivity), so that you may discern what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. I want you to know, brethren, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole praetorium and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ, in Christ)…” (Phil 1: 9-13)
Whatever happens to us today, both the ups and the downs, the Apostle is saying, let it all be “to the glory and praise of God”; may it benefit our growth in “love” and “knowledge,” and greater “sensitivity” to what is truly “excellent” and what is not.
Spiritual growth! How does it happen, even amidst the “downs,” like loss, rejection, and failure, including my own shortcomings? It happens “in Christ,” when I let Him be present to me, and me present to Him, joining Him on the Way of the Cross. When I walk through things, according to the wisdom of the Cross, rather than avoid them in self-centered fear and going around in meaningless circles, I grow and “advance the gospel” in my life. So let me choose His way today, replacing neediness with self-offering, resentment with forgiveness, lust with humility, and fear with faith, that “love may abound more and more” in my life. “Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace!”