Good relationship brings joy
Good relationship brings joy. Paul and the people in the Philippian church established a close and loving relationships. Paul said in verse 7 “….I have you in my heart…” then in verse 8 he said, “For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” This could be translated, “you have me in your heart.” This strange-sounding statement really means “I have a heartache for you.” If we express in our modern language we say “I have a passion for you.” Or “I have a burden for you.” That is to say, a heart that aches for those in need. Paul is saying, he loved these people with the love of Christ. It was a two way relationship of love.
Now remember Paul was in Rome as Ceasar’s prisoner. While in Rome the church sent a valued member named Epaphroditus with a gift of money. Paul even though a prisoner, he did not have a “self-pity party”. His love to people reaches out. That is what real love does. When you are in “prison”, as in hospital bed, tied to a baby setting job, tied to a nursing home job or caring for the aged people, tied to a kitchen sink at home, or anchored to an office desk in front of a computer—it is good to remember what God has been doing in your life, and the people you loved, and who loved you in return. I think it was James Dobson who said: ‘that when you are already old and that you are getting closer to the ‘end’ there are only two things that matter most, not the fame, not the riches, not the power etc., but the people you loved and the people who loved you.’
Paul encourages the Philippian believers to rejoice always. They have this wonderful relationship based on holy love, the love of God. This is all possible and available to all by the grace of God. Everything we have and enjoy comes from God’s grace. All by grace and by grace alone.