You Hold My Heart
Verse 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
Paul once again points out his deep affection for these believers. Just in case they didn’t know why, he would tell them.
Paul’s feelings for this congregation were the kind that hold court in the heart. Like a parent having the right to care about the events of a child’s life, Paul wants his friends to know that he cares what is going on in their lives. Because they were in his heart, he saw them as being in his life events too.
As Paul was dealing with the difficulty of being imprisoned, he felt the nearness of his friends because their being in his heart. When he was preaching or teaching the Gospel, he did so with them in his heart and mind. This is the true heart of Paul the missionary.
The true heart of a missionary is someone that has a heart for the people they are hoping to reach with the Gospel and that they desire to help grow spiritually. But is this a trait that is reserved for those in ministry in foreign lands? Of course not! And it isn’t a trait that is only for the pastor or elders of the church, either. We should all have a heart for our fellow church members. We should not just have nominal feelings towards them, just allowing them to remain as mere acquaintances. If we don’t learn to love them deep in our heart, we are missing out on one of the greatest blessings of Christendom.
Because of Paul’s love for these people, he saw them as his team members. This may be one of the reasons we struggle with loving those in our church family. We are so busy seeing our own agendas for the church, we miss our true mission. Paul knew the real mission. It wasn’t about him and his desires, it was about God and His agenda. When we change our focus from our wants to His wants we will find it easier to make room in our heart for those who are also focused on God and His mission. This is the true joy of serving the Lord in a community of believers.
Making It Personal
How would you rate your feelings towards others in your church? How about those in the church you aren’t close to? Which relationships do you need to work on building Christian love into?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you like the people at your church? Do you try getting to know them better? Who can you learn to be friends with today?
Father, thank You for blessing us with a community of faith. Help us learn to love each other the way You want us to so that the world will know that we belong to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.