Philippians 1 today. Paul is in prison and writes now to a church he dearly loved, one through which he and them had gone through trials, imprisonment and beatings. The word you’ll read throughout the letter is “joy” or “rejoice.” In spite of circumstances, Paul has learned the great gift of joy and celebration in Christ. A few insights into this chapter:
-vs 6: God has begun the work of making us into the image of Christ. It HAS begun. We ARE growing. Now we look to Jesus to complete, one day, the work he has begun.
-vss. 12ff: Some followers of Christ were preaching the Gospel from pure motives (ie: for Jesus simply to be glorified) and others from selfish ambition, using Jesus for their own glory. Although I’m sure it hurt Paul to think that certain people were using the Gospel for their own advancement, nevertheless, he says he rejoices that the Gospel is being proclaimed and that’s what’s most important.
-vs 20: Paul says he would never want to do anything that would bring Jesus shame. Do you feel that way? But also that he would always be bold for Christ, always honoring him. Do you feel that way? Then he goes on to say he can’t figure out which would be better: to die in prison and go to be with Jesus or be released so he can continue to help people like the Philippians grow in their faith. Vs 25 says he thinks he will be released from prison and help them grow and “experience the joy of their faith.”
-vs 27: But whatever happens to him, he adjures followers of Jesus to realize our true citizenship is in heaven. It is! We represent here, on earth, another government, King, ruler and Lord. Our ultimate loyalty is to him and him alone. Does your life show attachment to things here on earth or heaven?
-vs 29: Paul says it’s a privilege to 1) trust in Christ 2) suffer for him. If you truly follow him, there is always a degree of suffering for him: rejection by people, being made fun of, the enemy of your soul attacks regularly. But we stand firm because we know the One who died for us and has given us the gift of eternal life.
May the great God of our salvation continue to motivate us to fall more deeply in love with him and one another!