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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS

Thanksgiving and Prayer


3I thank my God every time I remember you.

4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnershipi in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

1: 4   Paul uses the word joy many times in this letter. He remembered the Philippians with joy and thanksgiving whenever he prayed. By helping Paul, they were helping Christ’s cause. The Philippians were willing to be partners with Paul in whatever God wanted them to do. When others think about you, what comes to their minds? Do they think of you with joy? Do your acts of kindness make them happy and thankful?

1: 5   When Paul said that the Philippians were his partners in spreading the gospel, he was remembering how they gave him practical help when he was in Philippi and contributed financial support when he was in prison. As we help our ministers, missionaries, and evangelists through prayer, hospitality, and financial gifts, we become their partners in spreading the gospel message.

1: 6   God initiated our salvation, continues his transforming work in us throughout our lifetimes, and will finish it when we meet him face-to-face. God’s work for us began when Christ Jesus died on the cross in our place. His work in 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 becoming more like Jesus that began when we accepted him and will continue until we are united with him forever. 1: 6   Do you sometimes feel as though you aren’t making enough 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. When you feel incomplete, unfinished, or distressed by your shortcomings, remember God’s promises and provision. Don’t let your present, imperfect condition rob you of the joy of knowing Christ Jesus or keep you from growing closer to him.

1: 7   When he said, “in chains,” Paul was probably referring to his imprisonment in Philippi (see Acts 16: 22-36). In Philippians 1: 13-14, Paul speaks of his Roman imprisonment. Wherever Paul was, even in prison, he faithfully preached the gospel. Remember Paul’s inspiring example when hindrances, small or large, slow down your journey with God. 1: 9   Often the best way to influence other people is to pray for them. 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 (moral discernment). 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?

1: 10   Paul prayed that the Philippian believers would “discern what is best”— in other words, that they would have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, vital and trivial, healthy and infirm. We ought to pray for moral discernment so we can maintain Christ’s perspective on what really matters. In every situation, consistently choosing the best course of action will yield tremendous benefits for us and those around us. Always think about what will be of lasting value. (See Hebrews 5: 14, which also emphasizes the need for discernment.)

1: 11   The “fruit of righteousness” includes all the character traits flowing from a right relationship with God. When we love Christ rightly, he produces godly actions in us. This fruit of righteousness involves more than kindness to other believers. It requires integrity in such areas as our financial matters, our speech, family conflict, and relationships with all kinds of people. (See Galatians 5: 22-23 for the “fruit of the Spirit.”)

Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible

ON THE WAY HOME WALK WITH JESUS and in all we do learn to give thanks and pray about everything we do. by RICHARD DEAN BROOKS

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