HOW TO DETERMINE WHAT IS BEST
This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best. Philippians 1:9–10.
Our culture thrives on binary categories. Good and evil. Black and white. Left and right. Republican and democrat. Right and wrong. Pick a side. By the way, everyone thinks their side is right and the other is wrong. Real life is not that simple.
The real challenge with lots of good choices is this: how do you determine what is best?
Freedom is good. Health is good. Getting back to work is good. Protecting our hospital system from overwhelm is good. When these goods compete with each other, how do we determine what is best?
Love helps you determine what is best
The Apostle Paul prayed for the saints in Philippi that their “love would overflow more and more in knowledge and full insight” in order to help them “determine what is best”. So when deciding between two goods, love helps you choose the best. Ask yourself, “what would love do?”
Paul gives his own example in chapter one. Faced with his likely execution, he sees living and dying as good options.
“I am torn between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better for me; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” Philippians 1:23–24.
Paul thought dying was better for him. But he knew his people needed him so he made up his mind to pray and fight for that. He chose what was better for others. This is the love that overflows in knowledge and depth of insight. His knowledge of God and insight into God’s love displayed in Christ made him more loving. That love in turn gave him discernment of what was best.
Later in the letter he displays Jesus as the ultimate example of how love always puts the good of others ahead itself. Instead of choosing what was better for him, Jesus chose what was better for us. Love chooses what is best for the other.
So when we are given a choice between what’s better for us and what’s better for others, Christians ask what love would do. Then we do that. Not because the governor said so. Because Jesus did. Because Paul did. Because that’s what love does.