29 October 2010Philippians 1:1-11
"And this is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight, to help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless" (v.9)
Pure and blameless - I have typed that phrase in a very few
seconds, and it seems so simple. Purity is about cleanliness and
being without blemish. Blamelessness is about being in a position
where we cannot be accused of wrongdoing. It all sounds so easy.
How difficult can it really be? All we have to do is follow the
rules and live fully immersed in God's love.
It sounds so possible, and yet I know that I cannot honestly describe myself as either pure or blameless. I am a sinner, and I recognise that I cannot blame anyone else for many of the things I get wrong. Has God set me an impossible task?
Paul's letter to the Philippians opens with wonderful assurance of the grace of God. It is in this grace that God gives us everything we need to succeed in living pure and blameless lives. Paul is writing from prison, where he is confined and chained, yet he is still concerned for the Christian community he loves so much. He is ceaseless in prayer (verse 3), and asks God to surround each person with love, and to give each person insight to know what is best. Best can mean right, but it can also mean most important. One of the blessings of grace is the ability to know what is important in our lives and give it the time and attention it needs. By focussing on what is good in my life, I am given the strength to avoid those things that are damaging and sinful. It is in this focus on good that we are able to strive towards purity and blamelessness. These are the fruits of living in God's love.
Sometimes it feels as though living a pure and blameless life is an impossible task. In what ways can you seek strength and discernment when times get tough?
Paul continued to live as an active Christian even though his body was confined in a prison cell. Are there times when you need to think creatively about how to serve God? What is the outcome?
God gives us the tools we need to decide what is most important in our lives. Thank God for whatever it is that matters most to you today.