Devotional: October 21, 2021
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Philippians 1: 3-6 The Message
The apostle Paul must have been smiling as he wrote these words. He has such fond feelings for the Philippians. The friendship between Paul and so many Christians in the church in Philippi have inspired some to call it “The Friendship Letter.”
Paul focuses on three things in these three verses.
First, he offers thanks and praise to God for their friendship. Good friends are a blessing from God. In a world which can sometimes feel cold and uncaring, the warmth and love of our friends should cause each of us to offer praise to the Lord.
Second, Paul expresses thankfulness for their continuing on in the faith. He sees them not only as friends, but as brothers and sisters in Christ. They are united, in a very deep way, by their shared Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This common faith makes them co-laborers in the ministry, in a very real sense. He is thankful for their spiritual companionship in the challenges of ministry.
Third, he realizes that they are all of us are “works in progress.” He does not regard the Philippians as perfect. Indeed, Paul doesn’t even regard himself as perfect. Far from it! Yet Paul recognizes God at work in their lives. He also believes that God will eventually complete that good work. Paul expresses confidence in the work of spiritual transformation that God is doing in their lives. Some call it sanctification: the process of God making us holier, purer, and better each and every day.
Take a moment, right now, to offer thanks for your friends. Appreciate especially those who share your faith, and realize that God is not finished with any of us. Yet someday, the Lord will bring everything together: for them and for us, and for the whole world, and for the sake of the good news. Praise Him!
God of us all,
Thank you, Lord, for the friends You have given to me through different seasons of my life. I treasure them, and I am so grateful and blessed with these gifts You have placed in my life. Never let me take them for granted. Help me to be a good and encouraging friend to others, as they have been to me. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, who was a friend to all. Amen.