Paul explained to the Philippians that “God only knows” what they mean to him and how concerned he is for their well being. I’m thinking he learned something from Epaphroditus, the deliverer of the letter, about some 02 prayersituations that were not the best in Philippi and since he could not personally be with them he wrote a letter to them. After expressing his concern he began addresses the issues. It began by him telling them how much he is praying for them and what he is asking God for. Philippians 1:9 begins, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…” It’s difficult to understand exactly what Paul is praying for. Is he asking God to help them grow in their love for God or for them to grow in understanding God’s love for them? I would argue that Paul is praying to God for the Philippians to grow in their love for each other. Kennedy in The Expositor’s Greek Testament Commentary says the Greek phrase “that your love may grow,” “can scarcely mean anything else than ‘your love towards one another’”.

Jesus’ greatest concern for His followers was their love for each other. He instructed His disciples (including you and me) in John 13:34-35 saying, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It is very important that Christians show love for each other for it is a testimony to the world as Jesus explained in John 13, but it’s also a testimony to ourselves. 1 John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.” Furthermore Jesus teaches us that unless we learn how to love each other we’ll never have a true love for God. 1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

In the course of my reading of Philippians I see many things that tend to separate us from our fellow Christians. One overlooked passage in Philippians has to do with two women who are at odds with each other. Paul directs reconciliation and peace between them. I would argue that anything that tends to separate us from each other is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. The opposite would lead us to believe that whatever tends to cause us to live in healthy loving relationships with each other is likely to be from God. It goes without saying that love is the most important commandment. Jesus made that clear. Paul begins his prayer for the Philippians, and I’d argue for all believers who would follow Christ, to grow in love for each other. It is the Lord’s command to us. It is Paul’s prayer for us! It is my prayer for you.