Thought for the week

Thought for the Week provides a Verse, Thought and Prayer for the week ahead.  We trust you will find these helpful and encouraging in these times.

Verse for the week:

Philippians 1:9-11 (New Living Translation)

9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Thought for the week:

FF Bruce comments that the principal purpose of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi “was evidently to encourage a spirit of unity among them.”

Paul says later (chapter 2 verses 1-2):

“Is there any encouragement in belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.”

But how is that “unity of mind and purpose” to be attained? Paul prays that the church (church members) “will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding”, that they will “understand what really matters”.

Other versions of the Bible translate the word “understanding” as “depth of insight”. And this was necessary in 1st century Philippi, as people were living with many differing and competing forms of doctrine and lifestyle. So true (Godly) knowledge and depth of insight were needed if people were to follow the right path, live the right way …… to “understand what really matters”.

And is Newtownards in the 21st century any different in this respect?

Paul goes on to pray that the church will be “filled with the fruit of your salvation”. And what is that “fruit”?

In a letter to another of the churches (in Galatia) Paul says in chapter 5 verses 22-23:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love …… joy …… peace …… patience …… kindness …… goodness …… faithfulness …… gentleness …… self control”.

And the result of this kind of Spirit-led insight, understanding and lifestyle?

“…… this will bring praise and glory to God.”

I particularly like Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of some of the words of our Verse for the Week:

“Live …… a life that Jesus will be proud of; bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God”.

May it be so – to His praise and glory.

Amen.

Prayer for the week:

Father,

I want the fruit of your Spirit to be evident in my life, so that I may live a life that Jesus will be proud of and that others may see …… even in me …… the light and the love of your truth.

May your holy name be honoured,

May your kingdom come,

May your will be done,

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.