“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 our 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, moving forward according to the wisdom of the Cross, rather than avoiding responsibility or going around in the circles of self-centered fear, I grow and “advance the gospel” in my life. So let me choose His way today, replacing fear with faith, neediness with self-offering, resentment with forgiveness, and procrastination with a baby-step or two forward, that “love may abound more and more” in my life. Glory be to God for all of it, and all of us, today.