My family, all five of us, found ourselves in Rome over the Christmas holidays. I don’t know when I’ve ever seen more people jammed together in one place. As we snaked our way through crowds to see sights like the Vatican and the Coliseum, I repeatedly emphasized to my kids the practice of “situational awareness”—pay attention to where you are, who’s around you, and what’s going on. We live in a day when the world, at home and abroad, isn’t a safe place. And with the use of cell phones and ear buds, kids (and adults for that matter) don’t always practice an awareness of surroundings.
Situational awareness. This is an aspect of Paul’s prayer for the believers in Philippi recorded in Philippians 1:9–11. His desire for them was an ever-increasing discernment as to the who/what/where of their situations. But rather than some goal of personal safety, Paul prayed with a grander purpose that God’s holy people might be good stewards of the love of Christ they’d received, discern “what is best,” live “pure and blameless,” and be filled with good qualities that only Jesus can produce. This kind of living springs from an awareness that God is the who in our lives, and our increasing reliance on Him is what brings Him pleasure. And in any and all situations is where we can share from the overflow of His great love.
How can you bring Christ’s love into your circumstances in a greater way?
The city of Philippi got its name from Alexander the Great’s father, Philip of Macedon, who captured the city in 360
Paul first came to Philippi after having a vision in which a man begged him to “come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul concluded that God wanted him to preach the gospel there and immediately got ready to depart (Acts 16:9–10). Outside the city gate, Paul taught a group of women gathered at the banks of a river. Among them was Lydia, who’s considered to be Paul’s first convert to Christ in Europe (vv. 13–15).