Philippians 1: Love That Grows
It's the weekend, and we're kicking it off with the first post in our mini-series by looking at Paul's call a life of love rooted in, and for Jesus. Enjoy! MP team x
The letter of Philippians is overflowing with first-hand wisdom and encouragement from Paul about how to live well, as followers of Jesus. He's preparing the church to be a community of believers who know how to live fully in the now, defending and motivated by the Gospel, whilst waiting for His return. This preparation is underpinned by three types of love:
1. LOVE THAT GROWS
It is Paul's prayer to this church that their love would 'abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is pure and blameless for the day of Christ' (Philippians 1:9-10).
Another translation describes this as a love that will 'flourish and that will not only love much, but love well.' This 'loving well' that we are called into, is one that continually grows deeper the more we follow Christ, and therefore spurs us to love one another simultaneously. It's one that is never switched off, always kept on. It's one that teaches us to show sincere, non-superficial love, one that is modelled by the example of Christ.
2. LOVE FOR JESUS
Paul also calls us to live a life that is marked by loving, living for, and speaking about Jesus. Love for Jesus overflows into the desire to tell others about him. Paul's life is primarily characterised by his relentless desire to preach the Gospel; 'the important thing is, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached' (1:18), and 'for me to live is Christ, to die is gain' (1:21).
Paul even talks about being torn between the two (1:23-26); living for Christ now, and being with Christ forever. Yet Paul calls us to stand, wherever we are, whatever season - at school, University, college, gap year - united in our love for Jesus, in courage against opposition, in hope of future with Him!
3. LOVE THAT SUFFERS
One final love that I wanted to draw out is Paul's call to live a life worthy of the Gospel, and he explains that part of this includes suffering (1:29-30). I love the translation, 'the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You're involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through.' This love that suffers is not one that suffers alone (1:29), nor one that will suffer forever, as we see in Paul's example. We have total confidence that we serve and love our God who stands with us.
I love this first chapter because it gives a beautiful outline of what a life sold-out for Jesus looks like today. My prayer is that we'll cultivate lives that never cease to grow in our love for Jesus.
Originally from London, Nadia is in her final year studying Theology at Durham University. She has loved being part of Bethshan Church, Durham. Only a few months after being introduced to More Precious, Nadia joined the team as Projects Manager, using her love of writing and theology degree to develop new content and pioneer new series. Nadia has loved the opportunities that MP brings and is always praying that girls would be changed and pointed to Jesus. Aside from work, Nadia loves spending time outdoors, sports, and travelling, and will be spending the next year living in North California at a Bible school, furthering creative and discipling skills.