Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer (Day 2)

Read Philippians 1:3-11
   This is the first of many times Paul uses the word joy in his letter. The Philippians were remembered with joy and thanksgiving whenever Paul prayed. By helping Paul, they were helping Christ’s cause. The Philippians were willing to be used by God for whatever he wanted them to do. When others think about you, what comes to their minds? Are you remembered with joy by them? Do your acts of kindness lift up others? 
   The Philippians first heard the Gospel about 10 years earlier when Paul and his companions visited Philippi during Paul’s second missionary journey, and founded the church there. When Paul said that the Philippians were partners in the Good News, he was pointing out their valuable contribution in spreading God’s message. They contributed through their practical help when Paul was in Philippi and through their financial support when he was in prison. As we help our ministers, missionaries, and evangelists through prayer, hospitality, and financial gifts, we become partners with them. 
   The God who began a good work within us continues it throughout our lifetime and will finish it when we meet Him face to face. God’s work for us began when Christ died on the cross in our place. His work within us began when we first believed. Now the Holy Spirit lives in us, enabling us to be more like Christ every day. Paul is describing the process of Christian growth and maturity that began when we accepted Jesus and continues until Christ returns. 
   Do you sometimes feel as though you aren’t making progress in your spiritual life? When God starts a project, He completes it. As with the Philippians, God will help you grow in grace until He has completed his work in your life. When you are discouraged, remember that God won’t give up on you. He promises to finish the work He has begun. When you feel incomplete, unfinished, or distressed by our shortcomings, remember God’s promise and provision. Don’t let your present condition rob you of the joy of knowing Christ or keep you from growing closer to Him. 
   When Paul said, “in prison,” he was probably referring to his imprisonment in Philippi (Acts 16). Wherever Paul was, even in prison, he faithfully preached the Gospel. Remember Paul’s inspiring example when hindrances, small or large, slow down your work for God. 
Have you ever longed to see a friend with whom you share fond memories? Paul had such a longing to see the Christians at Philippi. His love and affection for them was based not merely on past experiences but also on the unity that comes when believers draw upon Christ’s love. All Christians are part of God’s family and thus share equally in the transforming power of His love. Do you feel a deep love for fellow Christians, friends and strangers alike? Let Christ’s love motivate you to love other Christians and to express that love in your actions toward them. 
    Often the best way to influence someone is to pray for him or her. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was that they would be unified in love. Their love was to result in greater knowledge of Christ and deeper insight. Their love was not based on feelings but on what Christ had done for them. As you grow in Christ’s love, your heart and mind must grow together. Are your love and insight growing? 
   Paul prayed that the Philippian believers would have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, vital and trivial. We ought to pray for moral discernment so we can maintain our Christian morals and values. Hebrews 5:14 emphasizes the need for discernment. 
   The fruit of your salvation includes all of the character traits flowing from a right relationship with God. There is no other way for us to gain this fruit of righteousness than through Christ (Galatians 5).