Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Paul and his long sentences! Actually, his writing that way makes it harder to “cherry pick” just the parts that seem “tasty” to us, when God’s truth is far too broad and deep for “sound bites.” The thing that speaks to me from this passage is that we are not to rely on emotion in our walk with Christ. Genuine love is far more than emotion, but we still tend to put love in the category of emotion. Some people become Christians with a great deal of emotion and weeping, but then never seem to progress beyond that. Here Paul brings in knowledge, depth of insight, and discernment, leading to righteousness and holiness. If our “love” for God hasn’t led to obedience to Him then it is essentially meaningless. (John 14:15) The devil is a masterful liar, and he delights to use our emotions to deceive us. Emotions are at their root beautiful gifts from God, but the devil likes nothing better than to twist and contaminate such things, and he certainly tries to do that with love. We definitely need to love God, as well as love our neighbor, (Matthew 22:37-38) but that love should abound in knowledge and insight. Only then will we be able to discern what is best in each situation, just as Paul says here.
The reason this struck me just now is that so many people in America today seem to be operating on blind emotion. They let their feelings dictate their politics, for example, instead of asking God for discernment and wisdom. There is also the tendency to decide right and wrong strictly on the basis of what feels good, both emotionally and physically. That is very dangerous, and I’m not immune to that tendency myself. As a matter of fact, I was under a good bit of attack in my emotions just yesterday. I’ve got to remember, and remember to teach others, that God is greater that our emotions, and His truth isn’t dependent on how we feel. I am not to ignore emotions, in myself or in anyone else, but I am to speak the truth in love at all times, not only to others but even to myself. When the devil is playing his nasty games with my emotions, I need to speak God’s truth to myself, just as David did many times in the Psalms, (Psalm 42 and 43, etc.) so that I may rely and rest in nothing less than God Himself.
Father, thank You for this reminder, and for the reality that indeed, joy comes in the morning. Help me relate to emotions as You intend and continue to grow in my relationship with You and with those around me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!