So, you want to bring glory to God?
Isn’t it a wonderful thought? Isn’t it almost unbelievable that imperfect, sinful people could bring glory to our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior? And yet, we have studied a passage of Scripture over the past few weeks that has shown us a clear “path” that leads to doing just that.
And here we are, at the end of this study of Philippians 1:9-11, to examine the final step in this important and amazing process:
STEP #5: TO BE FILLED WITH THE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
This final step is an echo of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
What is Jesus saying here? The message seems to be that if we will live a certain kind of life – the kind of life that Paul has outlined to the Philippian brethren in 1:9-11 – it will lead to “good works,” and that those good works will cause others to “see…and give glory to [our] Father.”
This “fruit” that Paul speaks of seems synonymous with the “fruit” that he mentions to the Galatian church that comes as a result of living according to the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).
As we know, this kind of “fruit” is quite rare in our world, isn’t it? If we exhibit these qualities, we will at once be different from those around us. We will become the much needed “salt and light” in a tasteless and dark world.
The Greek term translated “filled” at the beginning of Philippians 1:11 can also be translated, “having been filled” (NASB) and it can literally mean, “to carry into effect, bring to realization.” It seems that Paul is saying that these first four steps are going to bring about a certain result in the life of a Christian which will produce a gradual, but inevitable effect: God will be glorified.
If we will follow the steps outlined by Paul – and by Jesus Himself – we will “realize” the ultimate goal in the life of a follower of Christ: to point others towards the One who has given us a reason to live differently; to reflect the glory of the One who has illuminated our dark hearts and brought us into His magnificent light; to fulfill our ultimate purpose in life.
It might help to think of the “good works” in our lives in the same way that we think of the gifts that await us on Christmas morning. In some ways, these are things that we did not produce/provide for ourselves; but in other ways, these gifts have “appeared” because of how we have lived our lives (unless you’ve been “naughty,” of course).
When we receive our gifts on Christmas morning, what usually happens? We squeal, jump up and down, and immediately thank the one who gave them to us. Then we go out the next day and begin showing those gifts to those we know and love; we tell them about the wonderful things that have been given to us, and we use these gifts in honor of the one who gave them to us.
The “fruit of righteousness” doesn’t belong to us; it is a gift from God, intended to bring honor and glory to Him. Being “good” so that others will think that we are “good” is missing the point (and is also untrue, according to Jesus – Mk. 10:18).
We will close our study with a reminder from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Christians:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”(Eph. 2:8-10).
May the Word of God find its way into our hearts, and may this “path to glory” that be a well-trodden path in our daily lives!