I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. Philippians 1:3-4
Philippians is a remarkable letter from the Apostle Paul. He writes from prison with amazing joy focused on the abundant grace of God. Ten years earlier, the Philippian church began with Lydia, a woman whose heart was opened to Paul’s Gospel message (Acts 16:14-15). Her immediate response is to take action and partner with Paul’s team by urging them to stay at her home while they carry out their mission.
For Lydia, the decision to follow Christ wasn’t the finish line but the starting line to her faith journey and participation in the Gospel. Her efforts help spread the Gospel. A decade later, there are many more believers. And like Paul, they have troubles. Persecuted by Rome, they’re struggling financially. They have relational struggles within the church and are losing their focus and joy.
Paul opens the letter reaching out to encourage their faltering faith and partnership—by assuring them God will make his work in them complete. With joy, he affirms his abiding love and assures them of his prayers. Throughout the letter, Paul reminds them of their past actions as he encourages them to stay partnered and move forward.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Today in your Chair Time, turn to page 14 in your Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure journal. Take time to reflect on the three objectives Senior Pastor Jeff Manion urged us to write down: smart love, what’s best and right fruit. Read each objective and ask yourself, “Am I loving with smart love? Am I doing what’s best in my relationships? Am I producing the right fruit in my life?” Consider what your life would look like if you partner with God in these areas. Ask him to help move you forward.