Here are just a few quick thoughts on verses in Philippians chapter 1. What an incredible opening! This first chapter is packed full of encouragement and showcases the huge heart that Paul had for the Philippian church.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
Thought: Paul thought of the Philippians and prayed for them with joy. I had to stop and ask myself, “when was the last time I prayed for someone with joy?” Many times, my prayers are issue laden – praying for someone because of a need and/or what they are going through – not praying for them out of the simple joy of having them in my life and out of love and appreciation for who they are. This verse calls for a change in the way I pray – being careful not to let it always be issue and need driven.
6 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.
Thought: What an encouraging word to the Philippians. Paul expresses the joy he feels when remembering them, and encourages them with a reminder that God is committed to completing what He started in them. It’s good to know that I have a God who is committed to me – He is committed to molding me more and more into the likeness of Christ… Even on my worst days, His commitment isn’t slack – it will continue until the day I see Jesus face to face.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Thought: In cross-referencing other translations, I absolutely love The Message translation of this verse:
9-11So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
Lord, may I not only love much, but love well. Wow.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
Thought: Paul has such perspective. Just knowing that this was written while he was sitting in the depths of a Roman prison is enough to convict me when I begin to complain about circumstances or start feeling sorry for myself for whatever reason.
Paul was others focused – encouraging and instructing even from a place of hardship
Paul leveraged a tough situation to be able to minister the gospel to those around him
Paul’s situation and how he handled it inspired others to take their commitment to the next level.
Paul sums his perspective up with this: For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.