Wednesdays Word - Philippians 1:1-11 - Overflowing Love
Overflowing love. What's the first thing that comes to mind?
I think of a classic rom-com. The main man decides that he wants to show his love interest just how much he loves her by sending her an unnecessary number of roses.
Now, I'm sure he is very pleased with himself, and thinks he's demonstrating his affection for her very well, but if that were me, I'd think, 'Gee thanks, but is that it?'. Maybe I'm ungrateful, or maybe it's that flowers are one day going to die, and then they won't quite be the lasting act of love that is really desired.
Thankfully, this isn't the type of overflowing love that I think Paul is writing about.
In verse 9-10, he writes,
'So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.'
Philippians 1:9-10 (MSG)
His prayer for the church in Philippi is that their love would flourish. Not romantic love that we often associate the word with, but something deeper, more long lasting and intense. It's a love that they demonstrate and reflect as a result of the love that Christ has for them.
I don't think I will ever grow weary of hearing the Gospel. Hearing that Jesus died so that I may live. Hearing that he loved me enough to go through with it. That when he went through the agony of nails being pressed through his body to hold him on that cross, his beaten body hanging there for the sake of my sin, and that he endured it all because he loved me? I cannot respond in any other way than to offer my life to him. To love him in a way that shows the overwhelming, eternal gratitude I have for him and what he has done. To put my trust in the one who touched the lepers (Matt 8:3), ate with sinners (Mark 2:13-17) and was raised to life (Matt 28:6). When we choose to daily remind ourselves of His incredible love for us, how can our hearts not overflow with love for Him and in turn, those around us!
2 Corinthians 5:15 puts it nice and simply,
'He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.'
The love that God displayed for us on the cross continues, and it lasts far longer than roses ever will.
This prayer Paul has for the people in Philippi is ultimately about bringing glory and praise to God (v11), something that remains true for us today. Later on in Philippians 1:27, (which we'll be looking at on Friday at Reality) Paul talks about conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News. I believe this means that we are invited to display the love that God has for us by loving as he loves. The challenge for us today is to consider how can we overflow with love for God and for others...
How can you 'love well' in this time of lockdown? Both in your actions and reactions to others around you.
How can you keep your love for God flourishing during lockdown? Is there a daily/weekly habit you could implement to keep your love with him flourishing?
Paul challenges the church in Phillipi to check that their love for each other is 'sincere'. Take some time to reflect on your motivations towards loving others and ask God to help you love sincerely and in abundance.