Discernment / by Andrew Fairfield

Dear friends,

Sometimes it feels like life is an endless flood of choices. Whether they be large or small, these decisions over time define a lot about who we are and where we’re going. Even if we try to avoid choosing, that itself is just another kind of choice!

So this week’s passage from Paul, Philippians 1:3-11, is especially helpful. Reading this letter sent to the church in Philippi, it seems clear that Paul is unhappy with some of the choices made by the believers there. And yet, he doesn’t let that difference in opinion break their relationship or sever their common kindred in Christ -- on the contrary, Paul thanks God “constantly” for what they are doing, and fervently prays “that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best.”

We can be sure Paul had his own opinions about how things should be! He was a very opinionated person, and generally not hesitant to share his viewpoints. But he was also a humble servant of the Lord, and passages like this remind us that even he recognized his limits.

I hope that as we make decisions we do so from knowledge and insight rooted in overflowing love -- and I also hope that as we look at the decisions others make, perhaps including decisions we don’t agree with, we can still be grateful to God for the presence of those others in our lives. May our prayer for one another be the same as Paul’s prayer for the church in Philippi, that our decisions be guided to produce a “harvest of righteousness” through Christ-like compassion.

Blessings of clarity be with you all,