The women’s bible study at my church is going through Philippians right now, using Melissa Kruger’s book In All Things. It’s been such a blessing to have this reminder to rejoice in the Lord Jesus no matter what.
Why? Because he is greater, he is worthy, he is worth it, he is with us, he is the reason and the end of all things, he is good.
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.
– “The Love of God is Greater Far” by Fredrick M. Lehman (1917)
I read though the entire book of Philippians just to refresh myself of the whole context of the book, even as we study it verse by verse. As I read, I was receiving texts from two girls. I pray for both these girls on a regular basis, and with their texts in my mind this verse of Philippians really popped out at me:
“Therefore. my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”
Do you have friends you think of like this? Do you have friends who think of you in this way? Through out this little letter, Paul’s language shows that he really loved and cared for these people.
It’s so interesting to note what Paul’s love for these people calls him to do, because it is so different from what the world says a true friend does. Paul encourages this church to stand firm in what they have believed about Jesus (that he is the only way of salvation), love one another, and rejoices even in their suffering.
Do we do this for our friends? Do we spur them on? Or do we pander them when they grumble? Do we actually talk with our friends about Jesus, about good theology, even in a casual way? Or do we “save” those conversations for the formal church setting?
Are we investing in the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we allowing others to invest in us?
These are tough questions! They require messiness, uncomfortable conversations, personal sacrifice, and more! That’s hard friend, but that is what Jesus did for us (and more!), and that is what we, as believers, are called to.
Let us, in the confidence we have in our savior Jesus Christ, Rejoice! Standing firm, united in love, and growing ever more like Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!