"That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;" (Philippians 1:10)
The word approve means to put to the test, to examine or to discover. It portrays the idea of examining something in order to discover whether or not it is genuine. The Greek word behind excellent consists of a basic verb and a preposition which, when coupled together, mean to carry through. Discovering the things which will carry through into eternity is the result of allowing the Spirit to grow the believer in biblical love.
Although a Christian could be occupied with many good things, God wants him to be occupied with the best things, the things that are excellent. Actions which are born out of a heart of obedience to Scripture are things which will carry through. A believer can be very busy and still not be practicing the things that carry through. Church activities will not necessarily carry a person through; however, the study and daily application of the Bible will. Man's opinions and religious politics will not carry through into eternity, but the pursuit of God through obedience to His commands will. The simple act of being present in a church service will not carry a person through; however, gathering together with fellow saints out of a love for God and others will see a man through. Many things look good on the outside; however, not every philosophy, activity, motive or desire is excellent. Some carry through, and some do not. Submission to God's Spirit, the study and application of Scripture, prayer and time all serve together for the purpose of guiding the believer toward discovering the things that are excellent.
The Lord wants His people to be mature. Many Christians are content with a surface understanding of the Scriptures. Many are content with the trappings of church, but God commands His people to move forward. He wants the believer to recognize religious hypocrisy in his own life and in the lives of others. He wants him to distinguish between busyness and genuine service. The Lord wants his people to put to the test those things which they are taught. This is done by comparing all teaching and doctrine with the doctrine of Scripture. If what is being taught does not match the teaching of the Bible, the believer is to reject such things. Growing in the love of God results in discovering and clinging to the most excellent things that will carry a person through. In Luke 12:33-34, Christ said, "...Provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Being blameless before Jesus Christ at His coming is the result of discovering and clinging to excellent things. The believer cannot lose his salvation, but he can lose eternal rewards. He is quite capable of suffering embarrassment when standing before his Savior. Concerning this subject of eternal rewards, Paul wrote, "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is (I Corinthians 3:13)." Many Christian's are engaged in beliefs and activities which may look good on the outside but will not necessarily abide the fire of Christ's judgment seat.
Paul's desire for the growth of these people may seem extreme to some, but the Holy Spirit knows man's tendency to become distracted. He knows the flesh's tendency to follow glamorous things, to become preoccupied with the trappings of service rather than be concerned with the heart behind the service (Luke 10:38-42).