Friday, August 27, 2010

I Thank my God in all my Remembrance of You


“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3)

Do you have a tender heart for the people of God? Do you enjoy thanking God for his people? The apostle Paul had a heart of compassion for those who labored in ministry with him. His joy was in serving and praying for other believers. May we say with Paul, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

This was a common occurrence for Paul to praise God for those who were ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul understood, as we should, that the proclamation of the gospel was a responsibility and joy for all believers. Many times we have the mindset or feel as if we are the only person with the truth and we become burdened by the gospel rather than finding our joy in it. Reminding ourselves of other brothers and sisters in Christ will encourage us as press on in this life as ambassadors for Christ. Church is a place of refreshment as we gather corporately with one purpose: Magnify the name of Jesus Christ. Outside of church we can have one on one fellowship with other believers to strengthen us in the battle. But whether inside the church building or outside the goal of exalting our Savior who was crucified and resurrected for our sins never changes. Paul knew this reality so he says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

Listen to the joy that fills Paul’s heart as he talks about praying for other followers of Christ, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.” Joy? Praying for others brought great joy to the apostle Paul. I confess this is somewhat of a foreign concept to me. I pray for wife with joy. I pray for my daughter with joy. I pray for my family with joy. I pray for my close friends with joy. I pray for those in our local body with joy. But for other churches or believers I don’t really know is tough. There becomes this out of sight out of mind mentality that is not good. What is the purpose? Paul goes on to tell us the purpose and the reason he has great joy in praying for these people: “Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” The gospel is what brings this great unity, compassion and joy to Paul as he prays for those who are laboring as he is in this world. Read Paul’s letters he wrote and look at how he greets and prays for those he knew and those he did not know. Paul is consistent in praying for both with great joy. He is faithful to encourage others with prayers of joy for their labor in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

We have every excuse in the book not to take the time to pray for others. I think most of us would see the life of Paul and admit he seemed to be a busy man. Sure, he was locked up in prison for a lot of his life but think about your own heart, if you were locked up would you spend time praying for others with great joy or complain because you were in prison for the sake of the gospel? I confess my heart would not be in the right place. Paul's focus was others-centered and not self-centered. Paul loved his fellow laborers. Paul prayed for them with great joy every time he remembered them. Paul encouraged them with letters and prayers to spur them on in the gospel. May we strive to follow the example of Paul and pray for those who are laboring as we are for the sake of the gospel. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

Grace upon grace,
JRL

No comments: