“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.”
Last time, I wrote about how we need God because making decisions of morality are difficult. Even in our deepest musings of philosophy and our most committed expressions of paternal love, there is a tendency to get it all wrong. Though the parable I wrote last time was a little tongue-in-cheek, moral decisions so often seem to come down to choosing between bad and even worse.
More often than not, taking the easy way out or even “doing the right thing” ends up really hurting others on some level. I think Paul was conscious of this tension because of what he wrote to the church in Philippi. Because of the difficulty in doing the right thing, he writes that he wants the Philippians to grow in their knowledge of love.
The key is that the fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus. His “morality” was focused on serving others, and his message was one of humility and detachment from the things of this world. Without this focus on humility and selflessness, there is a tendency for philosophies to consider the needs of self far above the needs of others, and to focus on maximizing utility, which is accurately interchanged with pleasure. Love requires not only effort and sacrifice, but also meditation on how it should be expressed, in light of what God says is true about people and the rest of His creation.