Philippians 1:1-11

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"Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:1-11 NIV

Philippians is a letter written by Paul to the Philippi people. It was written while he was in prison in Rome along with Timothy.

As I read these scriptures I was drawn into it from two different perspectives -- that of Paul and that of the people of Philippi. Below are some of my thoughts from each side....

Paul
Here is Paul living in pretty dire circumstances. He is in a Roman prison and has been for some time at this point. It seems to me that due to human nature, the most natural reactions to this situation would be along the lines of anger, depression, and bitterness. However, this is not at all how Paul reacts. He is not thinking of himself but instead writing a letter to the people of Philippi. And not just any letter, but a letter full of praises and statements of joy. He prays for them with joy. Here's verse 4 -- "always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all". Despite his circumstances, he prays for and rejoices with the people of Philippi.

When I look at this and then compare to my own life what a difference I find. It takes alot less than the prospect of being in prison to set me on a course of not caring about anyone else around me. It takes so much less for my heart to not find the joy that is in every day due to Jesus. I want the kind of life that Paul had where he found the joy in Jesus regardless of the situation. I want to always put the needs of others above those needs of my own.


People of Philippi
What an amazing people they must have been! Paul stated that he thanked God for them everyday and he prayed for the work that God had begun in them and knew that it would continue until it was complete. These people stood by Paul through all his struggles as he shared the gospel. They were the people that never walked away, that always prayed for Paul, and that continued Paul's work when he was unable. No wonder Paul had such a great love for these people. From verse 7 "For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me."

I think this must be what a true friend really is -- someone that is always supporting (even when the road is long and hard), someone that shares your beliefs, someone that prays for you and that truly loves you for who you are.

From these scriptures I take this challenge for myself in the next week:
    * To begin living my life focusing on the Joy of Christ, not on the negative happenings of the day

    * To strive to be a friend to others as the people of Philippi were to Paul

1 Thoughts Shared:

More Than a Feeling said...

Thanks for your encouragement on my blog, Melanie.

Your post encouraged me. I like the verse that speaks of Paul encouraging the people to grow in love and discernment of knowledge.. something I'm trying to do and the subject of my post today.

Be blessed! Vanessa