I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11 NLT
Although Paul has been forsaken by some since he has been imprisoned in Rome because of his faith, the Philippians have continued to support his ministry. It is for this reason, especially, that Paul is so drawn to these brothers and sisters in the Lord. From the text, Paul reveals the content of his prayer for the Philippians. It is a simple prayer: “I pray that your love will overflow more and more” (Philippians 1:9). Though, he does not specify the object of that love whether for God or others, we can assume that he is using the term in its broadest sense. The Christians in Philippians have already proven that they have the capacity to demonstrate love but he prays that this love will abound and that they “will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” Then he gives them two admonitions that will govern their thoughts and actions. They are to “understand what really matters” for this will enable them to judge right from wrong but more than that have the wisdom to distinguish the best from the good. But such discernment should not act in disregard for others, especially those in the body of believers who might be harmed by actions that are in and of themselves not evil. Christian freedom should not be used in disregard for others. “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV). The discernment is done on the basis of love, an agape love that seeks only the best for others. The second admonition is to “be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ.” Since the work done in the life of believers is through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6), it is undoubtedly that such work should lead producing the character of Christ “for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).