Summary: We must live our lives focused on loving God and others.
A commercial flight found themselves having trouble with their navigation system. The pilot got on the intercom to inform and comfort passengers. He said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to report that we are having difficulty with our navigational system, which means that we presently do not know where we are. However, you might be comforted to know that we are making excellent time."
Some people are going through life just like that. They're in a rush, but they don't quite know where they are headed. Last time we said if we are going to correct that, we must have a personal connection with God through faith in Jesus Christ. We can know we are headed for heaven one day, and guided in living as successfully as possible today!
A little boy was given a dollar to spend on candy while his mother was grocery shopping. He stood at the candy display the entire time mom selected her groceries. When mom was ready to leave, he had still not made his selection. When she asked what was taking so long, he explained, "This is the only dollar I've got and I want to make sure I do the right thing with it!'
We also need to understand that since we have only one life, we must make sure we do the right thing with it! As one who has a personal connection with God, how do I live in such a way as to experience true success? What should be the primary focus of my life? Paul speaks to this as he tells the Philippians his prayer for them. (READ TEXT)
Paul shares a truth that guarantees I'll do the right things in life: If I would live purposefully, I must live passionately. Paul says if our life is going to be focused on doing the right things, we must seek to . . .
1. Live Passionately - v. 9
Apart from relationships, love has no meaning. Oscar Thompson, in his book, "The Concentric Circles Of Concern," argued that the word, "relationship" is the most important word in the English language for that reason. When Paul spoke of the importance of love here, he had relationships in mind. But what relationships?
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
That's what I think Paul is emphasizing. If my life is going to be focused on the right things, I must learn to love God and others intelligently ("knowledge") and intentionally ("depth of insight").
A. Loving intelligently - "knowledge"
The Greek word here is "epignosis," a combination of "epi," -"upon" and "gnosis," - knowledge." The word literally means, "knowledge on top of knowledge," and refers to what we call "heart knowledge" as opposed to "head knowledge." Rather than referring to acknowledging truth propositionally, it refers to the applying truth personally.
1) Loving God intelligently.
If I'm going to love God intelligently, I must seek to understand Him as He is, not as I want Him to be. Too often, we bring God down to the level of our understanding, rather than elevating our understanding up to the level of who He really is.
A Gallup poll in June 2016, revealed 89% of Americans believe in God. But while they believe in God, beliefs about Him are totally different than how the Bible portrays Him. God created man in his image and now it seems modern man has returned the favor.
Even though we have a personal relationship with God, we can have a faulty understanding about God. That's why we must grow in our knowledge of the Lord. Paul expressed this conviction:
"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." - Philippians 3:8a (NLT)
2) Loving others intelligently.
The Bible says we're to love our immediate family, extended family, church family, and the human family - even our enemies. To do so, then I must endeavor to understand those in my life I'm called to love.
In his book, "The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People," Steven Covey says one of those habits is "seek to understand rather than to be understood." That is part of what Paul is telling us here. But our world is filled with people who don't apply this principle, consequently, our world is filled with hurting people. Christians are to set an example of what it means to love as God intended. Jesus said this should be a distinguishing characteristic of His followers:
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35 (NIV)