3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:3-8
I woke up this morning longing for my church family and friends. The Lord led me to spend time in Philippians. While reading, I began to inwardly relate to Apostle Paul being in chains. Initially, I began to have a ‘pity party’. After I meditated on Apostle Paul’s joyful attitude while in prison, I settled into confession and repentance after owning up to my sinful attitude accepting my conviction by the Holy Spirit. Paul was illegally arrested, beaten, placed in stocks, and humiliated before the people; instead of dwelling on the obvious which led him to his chains, he meditated on the fellowship of the Saints, which he was enjoying even miles away being in chains.
Paul’s fellowship with the church of Philippi transcended the chains and distance. His fellowship with the Saints began with the Gospel and ended there. From which there is no ending, only eternity. Paul understood that it didn’t matter what happened to him as long as Christ is glorified and the gospel being shared with others. Paul rejoiced in spite of his chains. His rejoicing included the gift of fellowship of eternal life within the heart, fellowship of the gospel, and fellowship of the same sufferings.
This passage and Paul’s example comforted me by reminding me that Christian fellowship is much more than being present at a worship service in a church building or the anticipation of a new worship format. It doesn’t matter what the new format will be, what matters is that no matter the chains, (COvid-19, isolation, social distancing… no hugs, or no smiles from behind a mask), true fellowship has not been affected. Basically, that which I grieve is no comparison to the true fellowship of that which can never be lost.
Like Apostle Paul, I will continue to serve, worship, remain joyful with the Christian fellowship that we as believers have within Jesus Christ. Paul was in Rome with his friends/brethren being miles away in Philippi. Their spiritual fellowship, being distant, was still satisfying. I am learning to rejoice in having a unified mind and not be anxious in my spirit about the situation. I embrace what God is doing in each individual life to strengthen the fellowship of the gospel. I am confident that He who has begun a good work in me (us) will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus, Phil. 1:6.
I thank God in all of my remembrance of you in prayer and supplication with joy in my heart for you all. It is ok for me to grieve, but focus on God not the situation or the uncomfortable affects of the current state of affairs. With all of this being said, I still struggle with and pray about so many aspects of my position and the position of the church during this time, but for now, I will take a pause and enjoy the peace of today. Lord help me as I look to you for all of my help, Amen!
The journey flows…