1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons[a]: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 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. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
It is striking how far from indifferent Paul is towards the Philippians he leads. “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
Jesus has so got Paul’s heart, and his affections, that the people he leads are those he longs for. Longs to be with. Longs to partner in the Gospel with. Longs to have God’s fresh grace imparted to.
Jesus, I give you my heart, not in a moment, or on this refocussing occasion. I remind myself – my heart is surrendered to you for good. The rest of my days. That you who lay full and rightful claim to my heart may fill me with your affections for people. That I won’t just care for others because it is easy to, or out of obligation, but because your affections are flowing through me to those around me! Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh