What does horticulture have to do with Philippians 1? The analogy of being filled with the fruit of righteousness is striking to me. How do we get filled?
This my way of seeing our work in salvation and sanctification in light of the 3 other benefactors. The truth is God did all the planning and work. We can see all three persons of the Trinity involved in the process.
Jesus finished the finished work of the cross so that now for those who’ve been adopted, the Holy Spirit will continue perfecting. So in Philippians 1, Paul is praying that God do the work. He is also putting his faith and confidence in God for the outcome (love abounding still more and more) which will be shown by and through the people.
Philippians 1:11 (NASB)
“having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
1. Me – Being filled
You might be saying, “Looks like God does all the work; what do I have to do with anything?” Consider this:
Kenosis, this whole idea of pouring one’s self out as a sacrifice, is a major theme in Philippians.
Paul describes this in his own life as an emulation of Jesus’s.
Wouldn’t Paul have let Jesus’ example stand alone if we aren’t to follow it as he does?
Looking ahead, Paul directly tells them and us that the mandate is now passed down from Christ as we become Christ followers.
In order to be filled with one thing (like the fruit of righteousness) we must be emptied of any and all else.
2. Jesus Christ – comes through
The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus. Of course, Jesus made this possible with His life, death, and resurrection. Let’s focus on His life since that is whatwe are to emulate:
Jesus called people to follow him? Are we afraid to pull the trigger and actually invite someone into the fellowship?
Worse yet, are we trigger happy? Do we try to talk to people into something that only the Spirit can do with no true love for them motivating us?
Jesus had really close friends.
That, sadly, alone is a gut punch for me.
Jesus did so much ministry as a response to interruption. He was joyfully interruptible.
Might this be the fruit of patience we often lack, many times in ministry?
Being empty means we aren’t backfilling the turn rows that the Holy Spirit has tilled in our hearts.
3. God the Father – to the glory and praise
Wait a second, aren’t we cheating hear? The Trinity is 3 in 1. It is important to examine the intricate mystery of the Trinity and their relationships and interactions, since He is our model.
God the Father planned salvation before He created the world.
He was prepared to empty himself of His Son.
The unity in our triune God is what Paul is using as the basis for saints like “…one spirit, one mind…”
The glory and praise must always go to the Father. When Jesus was here, He glorified the Father who sent Him.
The oneness within the Trinity is on display in this passage. The glory is shown as passing through all 3 on the way to the Father.
4. Holy Spirit – by the power of
The Holy Spirit is not explicitly named as of yet. Let’s think back though. Haven’t we seen Him at work already in chapter 1?
He who began a good work will perfect it. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit draws us to the Father and turns our hearts.
Began a good work may very well be seen as their accepting, with faith, the word preached. The fruit begins in seed form.
Do we want the sacrificial love of the Father in us? He will do it. This is one of the many ministries of the the Holy Spirit.
Let us be led by the Spirit.
The Spirit exalted Jesus. Do our lives?
This is how to know if we are Spirit-filled and/or fruitful, righteous people.
Who will be a tree planted by the waters, unwavering and yielding much fruit? Join God in the garden of your heart and let Jesus show you what it should look like to let the Holy Spirit bear fruit in your life. You, my friend, are the fourth gardener.