Some of the easiest reading in the Bible is Philippians 1, where Paul seems to be writing with a smile on his face as he reflects on the joy in the lives of the Philippian Christians. We have studied before from the sections of this chapter, but today I want to focus primarily on just a few of the verses which carry some rich teaching for us. Look beginning in verse 3:
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.
It is noteworthy again that Paul's encouragement for these people brings remembrances of joy to his mind, and especially how joyful Paul continues to be as he learns of their faithfulness and devotion to God. Even from a man like Paul writing letters from a prison cell, he could rejoice as he saw God continuing to work through and with these people. It is only normal that Paul prays for them with joy.
But note several other things that are included. These are people who are his partners in the good news about Jesus. Apparently they have shared this unique relationship of partnership in the gospel since their conversion. It is obvious Christianity means something to these people. It is vital to their lives personally, and sharing it with others is their constant goal.
Then Paul says he has confidence in them because he knows that God, who began a good work in the Philippian Christians is going to keep on blessing them and bring about the completion of his work until their lives end or Jesus returns. That is a powerful thought. God actually working with his people and through his people to advance the gospel. And not only is God the source of the beginning of that work, but he will see it to completion.
Here are a couple of questions for you to consider: 1. Is Christ and the church so much a part of your life that others rejoice when they think of your partnership in the gospel? 2. Are you aware of a good work which God has started in you? The plan and practice of Christianity in being able to answer positively to those questions, places us along side our ancient ancestors in the faith. Answering negatively to those questions reveals the need for us all doing some growing and maturing in the Lord.
Programs and committees and planning strategies in the church can be of benefit to the local body of believers, but all have seen instances when these things become greater importance than our mission of sharing Jesus with our neighbor or the entire world. Spend some time in prayer this week, seeking God's direction. Remember this is God who started a good work in you, and he wants to continue and carry it all the way to completion. That is joy which continues to multiply.