With the Love of Christ, Paul
Verse 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
We reach the end of Paul’s letter to his friends. We have seen how much he cared for these fellow believers and the joy they brought him. Because of his relationship with them he ends his letter with a blessing that is sincere and a reminder to them of who it is that binds them together.
Often used in church services, this blessing is a great way of remembering that we are not our own and that God delights in us. This is the message that Paul has woven throughout this letter. He wants his friends to know that this relationship with God is a special thing that needs to be nourished and enjoyed. This relationship is for eternity and it doesn’t hurt to live into it now.
Paul has spent his whole letter encouraging his friends to find joy in their faith. He has told them of his joy of hearing that the Gospel was continuing to be preached. To know that his mission continued in his absent was a blessing to Paul and he wanted his friends to know that it should bring them joy too because if it wasn’t for their love of Christ and His message, they wouldn’t be sharing it.
Paul has also reminded his friends that they were not to be living for this world. Their focus was to be on how to live in such a way that they pointed others to Christ without even having to open their mouths. They weren’t to allow themselves to be distracted by the things that bring this world happiness, they needed to find their joy only in the Lord. He has reminded them to have the attitude of Christ and shine brightly for Him. Paul had reminded them of the priceless value of this relationship with Christ and that they should press on to their heavenly prize.
Whether Paul realized it or not, he was writing these same things to us to encourage us in our Christian journey as well. We have the example of Paul and the Philippians to encourage us. This letter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is for our benefit as it helps us remember the need to focus on things of heaven instead of the things of this world. Through these lessons we find the key to this parting blessing. Our relationship with Christ is what allows us to experience the grace of our Lord and Savior and gives us the hope for eternity with Him.
Making It Personal
How has the book of Philippians influenced your life? Do you focus on the ways of heaven or the world? What lesson are you taking with you into the future?
Making It Personal Kids
How important is your relationship with Jesus? How do think Jesus wants you to live? Are you willing to live only for Jesus?
Father, thank You for giving us this letter from Paul to learn more about You and what You desire of us. Help us to live wholly for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.