Philippians 1:3-11 is a great prayer of Paul to the church at Philippi, where he prays that the love would be abounding more and more…specifically with knowledge and all discernment. Why? So that they can approve what is excellent. Why? So that on the day of Christ they may be pure. Why? Because everything ultimately is to bring glory to God who created all things, sustains all things, and works in all things for his glory and our growth.
The book of James, in Chapter 1:14-15 describes the process that sin works. It starts with a thought of ours…our own desires which bubble up from the sin within us tempt us, lure us away, we act on them and then if you follow the whole course thru it ultimately brings separation from God and death. Sin starts with a thought, I think of them as poisonous thoughts, pregnant with sin. It may be temptation to do a specific sin (adultery, lie, etc) or it may be an “internal” sin like remaining bitter, or thinking lustful thoughts. This is where Philippians comes in (you thought I forgot didn’t you…). When we have these poisonous thoughts we need to discern them as such in knowledge and discernment and dismiss them, taking them captive and making them obedient to Christ. If not, they will give birth to sin. All sin causes damage. For believers, it grieves God, creates a separation of fellowship with him, and stalls the work of the gospel in our lives.
The gospel needs to be growing and bearing fruit, when we lack knowledge of God’s word and discernment of the Holy Spirit, sinful thoughts can give birth to actual sin and the poison spreads, and the work of the gospel is stalled.
In those times, preach the gospel to yourself. Remember what God has done in Jesus for you. Repent (turn) from the sin and turn towards God through Jesus in faith and walk in the grace that he supplies in the gospel…and get back on the road, live a life that is worthy of the gospel (Phil 1:27)being confident that he who began a work in you will bring it to completion. (Phil 1:6)