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How Do You Feel?

Daily Reading: Philippians 1

Scripture Focus: 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. (Philippians 1.7)

Devotional Thought: It was right for Paul to feel joyful about the Philippians. The verb to feel (phronein), a crucial term in Philippians, indicates an attitude or frame of mind that goes beyond intellect. Phronein involves the whole pattern of thinking, discerning, feeling, and acting. It is what we would call today a Christian mindset.

Paul gives four reasons for this mindset:

  • He held them in his heart. Paul’s feeling of confidence was grounded in his affection for them! We tend to have more confidence in the people we love. If you lack confidence in a brother or sister, perhaps you need to love them more!

  • They were partakers of grace with him in imprisonment. They had not deserted Paul out of fear. So also, we must not dessert Christians who are persecuted for the gospel. Instead, we must join them as if we ourselves were imprisoned.

  • They were partakers of grace with him in defense of the gospel. The gospel was on trial! Paul was heroically defending it. In turn, we need to be vocal about our defense of the gospel so that others will be encouraged to believe. We dare not hide our lights under a basket!

  • They were partakers of grace with him in confirmation of the gospel. We confirm the gospel by standing firm and staying faithful in times of hostility. When we do that, people will know that the gospel is real. Though we do not seek it out, suffering is a key vehicle to partnering with the gospel. Are we willing to suffer alongside our Christian brothers and sisters?

How do you feel? Do I hold these same feelings that Paul did? If not, what should you do about it?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for those who give me joy in my heart. Help me to be a source of joy for others as well. I pray this in the name of Jesus, the Source of true and everlasting joy. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”— let Israel now say— 2 “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. 3 The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.” 4 The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. (Psalms 129:1-4)

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