And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
There is some strong imagery in this reading from Philippians. Paul’s prayer is that “your love may overflow” (he wants it to be so abundant that it cannot be contained) so that “in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless” and that is done through the “harvest of righteousness.”
When we think of the word righteous it often has a negative connotation. Most times we lean toward thinking it is more like “self-righteous” which emphasizes “self” and is a label for people who think they are above everyone else. However, in Paul’s context the emphasis should be on the “right” in righteous. We are called to have a “right” relationship with Jesus; one where we feel “right”, or connected, perhaps even in lock step with Him.
How then do we produce a “harvest” of righteousness? Don’t you want to know especially since Paul says that leads to us being “pure and blameless” before God? You can’t harvest if you don’t plant. In this case we need to plant the seeds of righteousness by working hard (tilling the soil) to find that “right” relationship. We need to find those moments when we are clicking with God, when we are tuned in. That can be done through prayer, worship, fellowship or anything that lets you focus on Him and not the distractions around us.
Advent, a time of preparation, a time to plant!
Lord, we are preparing during this Advent season to remember the promise of your Son’s birth. May we use this time to try each day to focus on you, to feel like we are in lock step, in tune, that we are righteous. Help us to recognize those moments so we can work to recreate them more often in our lives. Amen.