It’s very likely the Apostle Paul would find himself in trouble in our culture as he did in his.
Given the opportunity to stand for truth or remain safely accepted by this world, Paul chose to be a truth-teller.
He probably would have had his Twitter suspended and his ministry page on Facebook restricted if he were alive today.
Paul consistently exhorted Christians to use knowledge and discernment to approve things that were excellent (Phil 1:9-10). (And therefore, disapprove of things that were not)
This wasn’t politically correct then, and it certainly is not today.
But what we miss when we dismiss knowledge, discernment and looking for excellent things are EXCELLENT THINGS like real peace, lasting hope and true joy.
And though the culture ridiculed and persecuted him, Paul didn’t back down.
He wrote we are to use discernment and knowledge so as to be “sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Phil 1:10).
Get this – the term “sincere” here literally means to “judge with sunlight”.
This is the idea of evaluating people and social situations as if holding an object up in sunlight to look closely for any imperfections.
We do this so we can choose the better way.
Paul is, indeed, talking about a careful inspection of ourselves, others, and social situations to look for “the fruits of righteousness” (fruit characterized by biblically correct character) “which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:11)
Biblically-correct character produces fruit to the glory and praise of God.
This kind of fruit blesses individuals, families and nations who produce it.
And Paul knew this and had been locked up for promoting such. But the amazing, God-thing is, Paul’s imprisonment inspired other believers to become more confident and more bold in speaking the word without fear! (Phil 1:12-14)
And I wonder, do our fellow believers in places like Canada, Afghanistan, and even this country, who are being persecuted for holding to biblical truths , inspire us to speak more boldly?
Or do we cower in fear?
Those who imprisoned Paul (the palace guard) couldn’t help but notice Christ in him. And the gospel spread like wildfire!
Oh friends, let’s be confident and sincere in our faith.
Let’s “abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment that we may approve the things that are excellent” (Phil 1:9-10)
Let’s hold fast to biblical truth.
Let’s boldly (and in a loving, kind way) speak truth and encourage the fruits of righteousness to the glory and praise of God!
May the sun coming through our windows remind us of such. May we remember the Light of the World is coming again!
Prayers appreciated as I share this slow read through Philippians.