Philippians 1:7-11 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
My task as a Pastor is not hard to summarize. My job is to labour for the spiritual good of those whom God has entrusted to me, helping them to utilize the means of grace in order to persevere to the end and so be presented blameless before Christ as his coming.
Unfortunately, my task is not as easy to carry out as it is to summarize!
It’s not always easy because I’m not perfect and so I don’t always carry out my task the way the Holy Spirit wants me to. It’s also difficult because every person under my watch-care still has a sinful nature which tempts them to neglect God’s means of grace, to indulge their flesh and to rebel against spiritual authority. Add to this the ever-present influence of this sinful world and the sinister working of Satan, and it’s a wonder that anyone ever grows in the faith!
Now, those sound like the words of a pessimist don’t they? Well, the fact is, If we were dependent upon our own abilities and desires, for spiritual growth, there really would be no room for optimism. But, thank God that is not the case.
I’m not a pessimist. I am extremely confident in the effectiveness of the word of God, through the working of the Holy Spirit, to bring about spiritual growth and maturity in God’s people. God said in Isaiah 55:11, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Like Paul, I long for those under my watch-care to mature in the faith. And like him, I pray and labour toward this end. My optimism in all of this is rooted in God’s promise to bless His word, and the reality that the Holy Spirit is active in every genuine believer. These realities encourage me to be faithful in using God’s means to help encourage God’s people.
So, how about it? Do you share my desire? Is it your ultimate desire to be found pure and blameless before Christ at his coming? If so, I believe you and I will have a mutually encouraging and joy-giving relationship – just like Paul had with the Philippians.
The above is an excerpt from Pastor Rick’s study through the book of Philippians