Read Philippians 1:10-11 (ESV)
So that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
How do you decide what you approve of or disapprove of? How do you determine right from wrong? Can you distinguish between things that are good and things that are excellent?
Have you ever heard someone say they have a “distinguished palate”? In today’s lingo, they may be more likely to call themselves a “foodie.” These people are sensitive tasters and they are able to discriminate between quality, excellent food and the junk the rest of us eat. These people are different from picky eaters who typically have immature tastes. People with distinguished palates have a mature taste for food and are keenly able to determine ordinary food from exquisite and extraordinary food.
In today’s passage, Paul was praying for the Philippians to grow in discernment and the ability to determine what is “excellent.” The NIV says “so that you may be able to discern what is best.” Just as a food connoisseur can distinguish between good food and excellent food, we need to be able to determine what is truly best. Being able to do this will help us to assign things the right priority in our lives. This discernment is a mark of a mature believer.
Another indicator of a mature believer is excellent character. Paul prayed that the Philippians would be “pure and blameless.” The King James version translates this as “sincere and without offense.” Again, this requires being able to decide between what is good and what is godly or what is ok and what is admirable. Paul wants the Philippians to be confident when Jesus returns. Not that they should fear His return–as believers in Christ, they did not stand condemned–however, Paul did not want them to stand before Jesus on that day ashamed of their lifestyles.
Finally, Paul prayed that they would be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ.” The fruit of our lives is the proof or evidence of our faith. It is the works that we do out of our faith (not for our salvation but because of it). He wanted the Philippians’ lives to be full of excellence that brings glory and praise to God. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul described these things as the “fruit of the Spirit”—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Friends, we do not want to spend our lives just doing ok. We don’t want to phone it in and say we did alright, could’ve been better but could’ve been worse. When we stand before Jesus, we want Him to say “Well done.” So ask God for discernment today. Ask Him to give you a “distinguished palate” when it comes to godly living and ask Him to empower you to live a life of excellence to the glory and praise of God.
God, I want my life to honor You and bring You glory. Help me to determine what is good and what is best. I want to be able to approve what is excellent and live a pure and blameless life before You. Amen.