Saturday, June 8, 2013

Things That Are Excellent

Philippians 1: 9-10

That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent.

   Do you know what is excellent? Do you know what things to approve and what to disapprove?  When there is a deviation from the norm, can you tell whether it is for the good or bad? The Bible tells us, "he that is spiritual judgeth all things."  How do you know if your judgement is right?  
   The Bible tells us what we need in order to "approve things that are excellent." (Phil 1:10.) The things we need in order to know what is really good are the things that Paul prayed that the Philippians would have:
   "That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement." (Phil. 1:9)
   In other words, we need to have love and knowledge.  Judgement (or discernment) by itself will not put us in the place where we can approve the things that are excellent.  Knowledge and judgement must be mixed with love.  Likewise, love must be mixed with knowledge.
   It seems people generally fall into one of two camps.  Either they are all love and approve all things or they are all knowledge and approve nothing outside their own sphere.  The spiritual position is in neither of these extremes.  In order that our judgement might be right judgement, and that we might approve things that are excellent we must have both love and judgement.
   If we walk on this spiritual path we will likely have folks on either side displeased with us.  Some will say that we are too soft, that our way is too broad, and that we don't use enough discernment.  Others will say we are too hard, our way is too narrow, and we don't have enough love.  Let us find the path that includes both love and knowledge, so that we avoid the ditches on both sides of the road.
   One of the ways in which love will help us to make proper judgements is that it will prevent us from judging things by one issue alone.  Love will prevent us from condemning everyone who does not hold to our particular view of a favorite doctrine, or whose dress standard differs from our own.  Love will prevent us from excluding all who do not belong to our own circle of fellowship.
   On the other hand, discernment will keep us from embracing every wind of doctrine just because some dear Christians hold to it.  It will give us a foundation on which to stand, a perspective, and a solid footing that won't give way under the heaviest burden or the strongest love.  Let us stand solidly on the ground of truth, but let our love "abound yet more and more."

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