READ: Philippians 1:3-11
- Note Paul’s encouraging words and actions. He (nearly) always starts his letters with such statements. Here, he is sharing how he prayed for and appreciated the Philippian church. In another few verses, he will begin discussing one of the issues that the church was facing, that of ambitious preachers. But Paul isn’t dissuaded by those who might even attack him personally. He is encouraged and encouraging; praying for all who are part of the kingdom represented in Philippi.
- Paul’s model is incredibly important to note. It’s easy to get sidetracked by the failures of others. It’s even more distracting when you are the target of those others. But Paul is bigger than that. This is never about him. It’s always about the advancement of the gospel (read 1:12-18). That attitude would do so much to strengthen any church. If we could all just see that the kingdom does not revolve around us, the kingdom could advance.
- Rather than discourage, fight, undermine, slander or whatever else might come to mind, if we would encourage and pray for one another, everyone would win. There is never progress made when we are fighting with each other. Learning to disagree with one another without such negative behavior and attitudes would further the church much better than if we continued to “be right” about things.
- When have you seen in-fighting destroy a church?
- What can you do to foster encouragement and prayer?
- For whom are you regularly praying and whom do you regularly encourage?
PRAY: Pray for those you just thought of. Ask God to call others to mind. Commit to praying for people in ministry.