And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
What a wonderful prayer is found in this verse. Yet I expect it is extremely common, if not universal, for pastors to pray this same prayer concerning the people in their congregation.
It might appear strange to worldly American ears to pray that love would abound in knowledge and insight because the world equates love with a feeling. But unfortunately, feelings are fickle and when pleasure turns to pain and joy to sorrow, the world would abandon love for something more pleasurable. Praise God that in Jesus we have a Savior who continued to love even when those who took no small pleasure in torturing Him put Him to death.
The second half of the verse is equally foreign to our ears, though equally wonderful in Jesus Christ. The blamelessness for which St. Paul prayed comes through faith in Jesus, not because we somehow deserved what was best and took care of it! For our sinfulness condemns us, and the only way we will be found blameless in the day of Christ is if we have His pardon and forgiveness. Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent” (John 6:29). He won complete forgiveness and salvation for us – all the glory and praise goes to God.
Prayer: Dearest King of Kings, born to us a child in Bethlehem to take away the sin of the world, may we ever adore Thee Christ our Lord. Amen.
© 2006 Lutheran Hour Ministries
These devotions have been written by Rev. Paul and Kaye Wolff. Rev. Paul Wolff is a 1996 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He has served as a pastor in the Detroit area for 10 years. He and co-author wife, Kaye, live in Southfield, Michigan.
Kaye Dumas Wolff is Chairperson of the Black Ministry Church Planting Task Force and a Mission Affiliate of LCMS World Missions where she serves as a training facilitator for laity in evangelism and mission work. Kaye serves on the Advisory Council of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and she is a presenter for Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Equipping to Share Workshop.
Click here for an audio version of today's devotion (3MB, MP3).