And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
When I first considered this phrase by the Apostle Paul, I thought that it seemed odd that he would say something so obvious. I thought, “Well, of course I think good things are good.” But as I dug a little deeper with my C average in English, I realized that he meant so much more.
The Philippians were a very loving church. We have record of them in Acts 16. They were already doing things in a loving way but Paul calls on them to have their love abound more and more in knowledge and judgment. The end result that he wanted for them was so that they could “approve of excellent things.”
The broader defintions of approve and excellent will show us what Paul has in mind.
- Approve means to prove or put on trial. This means there is something for us to do rather than just say we like something. We are to try by active experience.
- Excellent literally means beyond or above normal. So, we should not see it as just something that is really good, we should see it as different than the norm.
Paul is telling us that we need to learn by experience what it is to love outside the accepted norm. We need to get out of our comfort zone and routine of church and find new ways to be like Christ in our homes and communities.