this kind of love is better than anything the world has to offer

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit….

 

God’s love multiples our joy exponentially. Just look at what happened when God’s love changed Paul. Paul spent the rest of his life pouring out God’s love as he fought for the spiritual welfare of others. Nothing gave Paul more joy than seeing the truth of God’s love spread and produce fruit in the lives of others. Because Paul knew God’s love personally, his love was genuine and resembled Jesus. His deepest prayer for the Christians in Philippi was to know God’s love and experience its exponential abundance.

Paul prays for the Gospel to produce more love in believer’s hearts because he believes that this love offers “knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9). As God’s love grows within, believers can experience deeper insight and wisdom from resonating with the Father’s heart – much like Jesus did. A pure heart filled with the love of God is able to approve what is excellent, keeping  it pure and blameless for the day of Christ. Paul knows this kind of love is better than anything the world has to offer. He desired the Philippians to know this love not just as a feeling but as an unwavering truth.

As Paul continues his prayer, he desires the gospel to produce something specific within his brothers and sisters in Philippi. He prays for those who partner in the gospel to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness” (Philippians 1:11). Paul knows that abiding with Jesus and living in God’s love produces fruit. This fruit overflows from God’s Spirit and from the abundance of love and joy flowing from the Trinity. Mature fruit is the greatest of Paul’s joys as he sees God at work. Today, look around for someone with the fruit of love and joy. Celebrate God’s work in them as you tell them about the fruit that you see.

By Donna Burns

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