“For this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.”
Philippians 1:9 NKJV
In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul follows his greeting with a quick prayer for them to have more discernment. The church was a thriving congregation of new believers from all walks of society.
Paul planted this church in a very populous pagan city. The founding members included a successful Jewish businesswoman, her family, and friends, plus the women who attended the synagogue by the river with her, the local jailor and his family and friends, some prisoners, and a former demon possessed girl who was a fortune teller. They in turn reached others in their community with similar backgrounds with the gospel.
Because of this background, Paul knew for the church to continue to grow, they would need to have discernment. The word for discernment he uses means “perception” and “judgement.” The NIV translates it: “depth of insight.” A quick google definition is “the ability to judge well.”
We live in a society that frowns on discernment. We are told we are not supposed to judge, especially the beliefs, lifestyles, and behaviors of those we do not agree with. As Christians, we have a standard that helps us to discern. That standard is Jesus Christ and God’s word.
The more I read the newspaper, or my phone’s newsfeed, or watch the news, or read articles or blogs, the more I am convinced that we need discernment today and more of it. It is difficult at times to distinguish between truth and falsehoods. Everyone seems to have a slant or an angle.
The temptation for the Philippians was to allow the culture to help discern truth for them. We have the same temptation today. Discernment was needed then, and it is needed now. This same prayer is something we need to pray for ourselves, our families, and our church.
My prayer for us at RoS is to be a church of believers who not only pray for discernment, but who actively apply discernment in our lives daily.
I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.