Reading for Tuesday, Aug 7: Philippians 1
Paul writes this little letter from prison — yet he continues to use the words “joy” and “rejoice” to describe life in Christ. Paul continually amazes us with his ability to see beyond to higher realities. His chains are only temporary, for “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (v12). Oh to have this kind of perspective!
Paul’s prayer in v9-11 serves as a thesis statement for this correspondence: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”
Paul is most interested in the proclamation of Christ (v18). For him, every event, every moment in his life, holds fresh possibility for Christ to be proclaimed. Paul’s life is given in service to Jesus: “For me to live is Christ.” But when this gift is poured out, the author of life will be faithful to keep His promise: “…but to die is gain.” Paul’s desire is to depart, to be with Jesus, the source of true life. But until that day comes, Paul is focused on living the Jesus life before the world. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,” (v27).