Philippi, situated in
One thing to dwell upon in this opening passage and throughout – it is such a major point in the letter! – is that being a Christian does not consist in just meeting a set of minimum religious requirements. It is not a matter of merely crossing a church threshold. As we should grasp from Paul’s heartfelt prayer in verses 9 through 11, to follow Jesus truly must involve real, spiritual growth: in abounding love for God and our neighbor; in deepening knowledge and insight into God’s truth and purposes; in maturing discernment and application of what it means to live rightly and fruitfully in Jesus.
How can we grow? We grow spiritually when we devote ourselves to Scriptural teaching, to fellowship with other believers, to participation in the Eucharist, and to regular prayer. God has covenanted with us in Jesus. In turn we covenant with God when we engage in these activities. Are we growing in Jesus? Are we devoted to these practices? Are we, in God’s grace, maturing into the people God wants us to be? May we, with those Christians long ago, say and live out a great “Amen!” to Paul’s prayer.