Today I am soaking in the joy Paul felt as he describes his fellow coworkers in the cause of Christ in Philippians 1:7-11.
“So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.”
Do you love those you work with when serving Christ? I have felt like Paul and have a special bond with brothers and sisters in faith as we work together for the Lord. Those friendships are lasting and are firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Whether you are near or far from them you always hold them dear and can’t wait to be with them again. Why is that? I think the shared love and spirit of Christ permeates the friendship and links us for eternity. We know that time and place may separate us, but we are and will always be together in the Lord. I can only imagine that this is part of what Paul was expressing to the Philippians. He then explains how he prays for them.
“9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” He prays that they will abound in love, continue to grow in the Lord, walk with Him and live a productive life for Christ that will bring glory and honor to the Lord. What beautiful words with power and conviction. He loves his co-laborers in the cause of Christ and desires to see them grow and flourish. Is that what you desire for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you pray for their growth, their walk and witness in the world? These are tangible ways we can support each other. Seek God on behalf of your friends and ask Him to grow and develop them for His purposes.
My joy is greater as I stand with others in the cause of Christ.
My joy increases as I walk with Christ. As I seek to grow and serve Him, I am uplifted and encouraged by others in faith.
Joy is renewed and kindled as we work, pray, and serve together! Paul knew that- how about you? Mediate today on your friendships in the Lord and pray for them with a heart filled with love.
My plan to blog through the entire book of Ephesians during Lent was off by only 1 day. Here are the concluding verses of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
21 “To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.
23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 6:21-24
What did Paul send to his friends that lived in Ephesus? He sent an actual person to deliver the letter. Besides the written words of Paul, they would have Tychicus to talk to about Paul, so they could personally find out how he was doing physically, the conditions he was living under, how his ministry was going, etc. All of this Paul knew would be an encouragement to his friends. Then he ends with a final blessing to all who read this letter- peace, love filled with faithfulness and eternal grace (God’s undeserved favor) upon all who believe and follow Jesus. Each of us can receive Paul’s blessing and know that he meant the peace, love, and grace to be ours in Jesus, too.
Paul’s letter started with praise and thanksgiving for the faith of the Ephesian believers and ended with his desire that they continue to walk in faith filled with Jesus’ love and peace for themselves and towards others. Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can be blessed by His peace, love and eternal grace and I can share these blessings with others in His name. Thank you Jesus.
After yesterday’s post in 1 Corinthians I was drawn to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul often opened his letters with thanks towards the people he was addressing. I particularly love this passage in Philippians 1:3-6. “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Paul was thankful for his Christian friends who worked alongside him in preaching, teaching, praying and witnessing. They had been together in spreading the Good News about Christ for a long time. They had a bond of friendship that was sealed by their love for their Savior, Christ Jesus. Look at verse 6, Paul is saying that he knows Jesus will continue to work in their lives, no matter what. He knows the faith they have will grow in Jesus until their death or Christ returns.
The friends I have that are believers are bonded to me in a very special way. No matter how long we are apart, when we get together again it is like we never parted. We share the spirit of Christ that lives within us. I am so thankful for the brothers and sisters I have in Christ that work alongside me in ministry. I know that the good work that Christ is doing in their lives and mine- molding and shaping us to be more and more like Jesus will continue into eternity.
Do you have special friends that come along side you and support you day in and day out? If so, let them know how you appreciate them this week. Send an email, call, send a card or go for a visit and tell them how much they mean to you. Give thanks this week for friends and pray for them.
Eternally thankful for friends,