CONTEXT: Chapter 1 includes a brief introduction (Philippians 1:1–2) followed by three key sections. First, Paul gives thanks and prayer on behalf of the Philippian Christians (Philippians 1:3–11). Second, he focuses on the expansion of the gospel (Philippians 1:12–18). Third, he emphasizes that, for the believer, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:19–30). Along the way, Paul explains how the Christian life is a reflection of what they set their mind on. He stresses the importance of rejoicing and joy and connects faith to concepts such as glory.
Our text today would seem to be a verse that all people could get behind, but we would of course be wrong in our postmodern world. Think of it who would object to someone loving more, by using knowledge and discernment.
It is not until we apply the last word that folks take issue. You see they want you to love everyone (especially them), they want you to think you are smart (even if they think you are dumb and treat you as such) but apply discernment and you have crossed the line.
Discernment according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary is The act of discerning; also, the power or faculty of the mind, by which it distinguishes one thing from another, as truth from falsehood, virtue from vice; acuteness of judgment; the power of perceiving differences of things or ideas, and their relations and tendencies. The errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment.
Everyone applies this to their daily lives. We make judgments on what to buy, what is safe, who our kids should or should not hang out with, etc. These JUDGEMENTS are part of our normal routine and no one complains, until…
… once you start using your “smarts” and applying discernment, especially in a Biblical manner, then you are a Bigot, Racist, or some newfangled term I can’t keep up with. If you speak out against Abortion, any LGBTQ issue, or anything the Bible says we are to stand up for you are labeled a troublemaker and accused of being judgemental.
Or maybe, we are just dedicated Christians, and believers in the Constitution, no matter the label.