Today, let’s dig into Philippians 1. One thing about me is, I love letters. How about you? I enjoy receiving them, and I do my best to answer them when I can. This letter was written by Paul to the church in Philippi, thanking them for their caring and deeply thoughtful support.
Paul begins in verses 1-5 by wishing the church peace, grace, and prayers.
“…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.“
He continues by reminding them in verses 6-11 that Christ is always with them – they were purified by believing in Jesus.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may overflow still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may discover the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God.
Verses 12-17 remind may remind you that the hardships you may be enduring right now can better position you to be witness more effectively and can strengthen your faith and free you from fear, as you can see in verse 14 – “…have more courage to speak the word of God without fear.”
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brothers and sisters, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from goodwill; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking that they are causing me distress in my imprisonment.
We are reminded of the freedom Christ brings to those of us who believe in Him in verses 18-20.
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. But not only that, I also will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my eager expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Paul continues to describe the benefits of life with Christ in verses 21-26 – either he can live continuing to serve Christ or be in his presence forever after death. Be encouraged in your faith when suffering seems like it never ceases.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sakes. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your pride in Christ Jesus may be abundant because of me by my coming to you again.
Paul finishes this letter to believers in Philippi in verses 27-30 by reminding them to stand strong through suffering and hardship by believing in Christ. We can grow closer to Christ during suffering by believing in Him.
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and this too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Also, remember 2 Thessalonians 1:4-8, which reminds us of the honor of persevering through suffering for Christ, although this was written to the church in Thessalonica rather than Philippi.
As a result, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed are suffering. For after all it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
There is a way to be blessed through suffering and trials. You just may not see it yet. It may not even be you who is blessed, but potentially someone else may find Christ because of the example you are displaying through your current hardships.
On another note, Matrix Lifecare Pregnancy recently changed its name to Bravely Women Health. Just an FYI. If you would like to see more of what is going on, follow our YouTube channel and Patina’s Goodreads profile. Also, keep an eye out for some free downloads that will be made available in the near future. Final details are still being worked out – stay tuned. Have a delightful day!
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2825, 612 W. Navajo St., West Lafayette, IN 47996