What Paul hopes and prays for his beloved is that they will come to see their experience the same way, and that it will help them grow in love. Not “love” that’s sentimental or easy, but mature, and strong. One that faces head-in to the truth and has ”hard conversations,” a love that probes and discerns, that puts itself to the test in real-life situations and making moral choices in matters that count.” In other words, he prays that God will keep working in their lives, and they will let Christ do this work in them, so their lives will reflect the love of Christ.
Philippians is full of joy, but it’s not an easy or facile word for them or for us. This isn’t, “Don’t worry, be happy.” This is down-and-dirty, real-life faith, written from the hardest of times and places. And it’s beautiful; it’s so beautiful.
Next week we’ll look further at Philippians. If you haven’t read the whole letter yet, I encourage you to do it. It isn’t long – just a few pages. And if you have read it, then read it again. Let it sink in. Let it soak into your skin. Let it fill your heart.
Let it fill your heart with joy.