READ PHILIPPIANS ONE
After expressing his great gratitude for the Philippians’ partnership in the Gospel and his confidence in the God of their salvation, Paul confirms his own words. He says that he is right to feel the way that he does about them. He finds his own affection for them appropriate, and not the least bit out of place.
Why does Paul say it is right for him to feel this way about them?
Paul has this deep and rich spiritual intimacy with the Philippian church because they are fellow partakers of grace with him. This comment fits squarely into one of our definitions of what it means to be “partners in the Gospel” – the Philippian church and Paul have both taken part in the grace of Christ through personal faith. This is not just their respective isolated acts of faith, but something they have experienced and expressed together. They have held to this faith through difficult times as Paul has defended the Gospel while on trial, and in good times as the Gospel has been confirmed in and through them. They have shared the grace of God together.
Paul then launches into a prayer expression of his affection for them. He tells them how much he longs to see them, and share his affection that he has for them in Christ. And then he prays for them.
What does Paul pray for the Philippian believers?
When was the last time you expressed your affection for another Christian friend? Is there someone who the Spirit might be prompting you to share your affection with?
When was the last time you prayed for another believer? Have you shared what you are praying for them with them?
I think this short passage gives us an excellent picture of what it would look like practically to move towards growing spiritual friendships. There is affection in Christ that needs to be fostered and a commitment to one another’s spiritual growth that needs to be prayed for – and all of this grows from the fertile soil of having taken part in God’s grace together.
PRAY & REFLECT
Pray about any of the spiritual friendships that the Spirit may have brought to mind throughout this study. Consider how God might be leading you to either express affection for another Christian or to pray for their spiritual growth. Ask Him for the courage and confidence to walk in the areas of growth He might have for you.