So writes Paul to his friends in Philippi and it demonstrates his overriding concern, the deep and passionate love of the community of believers. The commentary I am using for my study of Philippians makes some fascinating points here, chief among them that "Paul's passionate love...is simply the outflow of his theology and the spirituality that issues from such theology." It matters what we believe. How can we know that what we believe is true? If it's issue is ever abounding love, approval of what is excellent, purity and righteousness we can feel we may be on the right track.
The commentator goes on to point out that Paul, "emphasizes love not as an affection, but as a behavior." Life and love is not one Hallmark moment after another, but the active result of a certain kind of life. James Freeman Clarke make a related point in his "Prayer" (see yesterday's post.)
"But Christianity" says Clarke, "is neither a cold moral effort, on the one hand, nor a pious emotion on the other, but a life. It is a life in the soul, rooted in conviction, manifesting itself in action, bearing the fruits of love and joy. It is activity, conscious yet spontaneous. It is at once a happy growth and a determined effort; perpetual progress outward into the universe, to meet God more and more fully in the variety of his works; perpetual inward rest in the centre of the soul in full communion with the One Alone."
Love and Blessings