Tested by Sunlight

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Philippians 1:9-11 (New International Version)
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.

I love this passage! Love. Knowledge. Insight. Discernment. Pure. Blameless. Righteousness. Glory. Praise.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more…

The Greek mallon kai mallon (μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον) is translated as “more and more.” Mallon is a comparative adverb, referring to an increase from what existed before or what exists now.

More and more knowledge. More and more insight.
That sounds mighty good to me! How about you?

But here’s the word that is fascinating me in our passage this morning: εἰλικρινής. Eilikrines is often translated as “pure” in Philippians 1:10. It means uncontaminated, sincere, spotless. It means “tested by sunlight.”

Tested by sunlight.

I was at a goodbye party in a friend’s backyard the other night. The sun had set, it was gorgeously warm, and we all stood in the glow of firelight and torches. A bunch of us were talking about how great we look by candlelight. The years drop away in the soft flickers. Wrinkles soften, blemishes fade. Gray hairs become happy sparks, highlighting the corona of hair around our heads.

If only we could carry that kind glow with us everywhere in life.

But, alas, reality intervenes. And although I love bright sunshine, it definitely does show the fact that I’m not 18 anymore. Or 28. Or  38.

As fabulously yummy as sunshine feels on my skin, it certainly does not soften my flaws.

In his sermon “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” John Wesley wrote about the first flush of confidence and excitement when a person becomes a Christ-follower. He said that in the moment of acceptance and surrendering, “there is a real as well as a relative change.” Something happens within us, moving us closer to God. And we feel that it will always be that way — we will be constantly in God’s loving presence, never faltering, never wavering, continuously drawing nearer and nearer to God, experiencing within our bodies and spirits God’s peace and love and forgiveness and grace.

Mallon kai mallon, indeed! More and more and more and more.

Wesley writes:

How naturally do those who experience such a change imagine that all sin is gone; that it is utterly rooted out of their heart, and has no more any place therein! How easily do they draw that inference, “I feel no sin; therefore, I have none: it does not stir; therefore it does not exist: it has no motion; therefore, it has no being!”

But… then… suddenly bright, strong sunlight shines down on our lives, and all the flaws and imperfections and weaknesses are brought to light.

But it is seldom long before they are undeceived, finding sin was only suspended, not destroyed. Temptations return, and sin revives; showing it was but stunned before, not dead. They now feel two principles in themselves, plainly contrary to each other; “the flesh lusting against the Spirit”; nature opposing the grace of God.

In case you hadn’t figured it out yet: you’re not perfect. Neither am I. But we don’t need to be ashamed of that fact. Because God already knows it, no worries! And God loves us too much to just leave us stuck in our mess.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.

Growing more and more in knowledge and insight.
It is a process, not an event.

It’s something we do every day, reaching out to our God for help. We will falter and fail and fall flat on our faces some days.

But God is not done with us yet.
Not yet.
Not ever.

Question:
What flaws in your life would you not want to be brought out into direct light?

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2 Responses to Tested by Sunlight

  1. BRENT JETT says:

    Thank You Pastor Hedy,   This helps explain some of the personal frustration I have been feeling in my attempt to follow the Christian path.  It is a beautiful SUNNY day.   Blessings in your work,   JVJett

  2. Dick Francis says:

    “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” — Leonard Cohen

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