Have I got your attention now? Doesn't our headline just make you want to read on?
Paul was a wonderful communicator who spoke from the heart. He wanted the folks in the Philippian Church to know he was pleased with them AND he wanted them to know God's plan. He wrote a letter.
God inspired Paul's words and his message.
Can you imagine everyone gathered round to listen to the letter? Wouldn't this early phrase just make you feel good?
You'd probably move a little closer to the reader, saying, "Wait a minute -- I want to listen close. This guy REALLY LIKES ME!"
We need to follow Paul's (and God's!) lead. This brilliant teacher is ready to communicate a HUGE lesson about life. He has captivated his listeners because he (and God!) sincerely loves them.
Think about it. Do we teach our children by telling them how much we love them? Hmmmm. My lessons usually start with a complaint. Ooops....so much for communication!
I want to read on in Philippians and hear what Paul is saying:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Phil 1: 3-6
--Another lesson from the great communicator: Paul is enthusiastic about the future of his readers. He trusts Christ to help them continue their great work!
That inspires me to keep on keepin on! Thanks, Paul.
There is no pessimism with Paul. He knows Jesus can be counted on!
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. - Phil 1:7-8
-Ahhhh! Paul holds his friends in his heart! Again -- relationships are important to Paul and he gains others' trust. Paul is actually under arrest when he writes this, but he says that does not matter. The awesome power of God's love does not change with our circumstances!
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. - Phil 1: 9-11
Here Paul comes to the reasons he is writing:
1. So you will learn more about Christ
2. So you will discern what is BEST
3. So you may hold on to what is PURE
4. So you may be filled with what is RIGHT
5. So you will come to Jesus Christ and invite him into your life!
6. So you will glorify God!
I can't wait to see what else Paul will be telling us in the rest of Chapter 1!
Read on, dear readers, cause: "I thank God every time I remember you."