While reflecting on Philippians chapter one, I was convinced this passage dealt with prayer. It does. However, the more I studied the passage I came to realize that within it lies an answer to the prayers of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Within this passage, Paul’s love for the Philippians flows over. He is thinking about Lydia, the seller of purple that he first met at the prayer meeting by the river. He is remembering the slave girl with the annoying unclean spirit and how he cast it out much to the horror of her owners. He is recalling the time he spent in prison with Silas over the whole ordeal. God’s miraculous redeeming of the jailer and his whole house in the process continues to overwhelm him with the goodness of God.
As he remembers, his heart overflows in thanksgiving for these people. They, through the gospel of Jesus, have become one with him. It fills him with joy. There is no thinking of himself as better than them or even separate from them. There are apart of him. They are in his heart.
Paul has confidence in God’s ability to finish what He starts. These people along with Paul are in a fellowship of grace. Paul knows what grace has performed in his own life. He knows God’s power to work in their lives.
His request for them centers on love; a love that abounds, that grows in knowledge and discernment, which will enable them to live a life worthy of Christ right until His return. He desires for them, an infilling of the fruits of a righteous life and reminds them, it is a by-product of a life lived in Jesus. He reminds them it is all for the glory and praise of God.
Jesus before his arrest prays for his disciples. John wrote of it in John 17:11
“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You, Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.”
Paul and the Philippians lived out the answer to this prayer of Jesus. They were partakers of grace, they had fought for the gospel in difficult times. They were and are one with Christ and His church in love and purpose. God had and is keeping them for the time when the whole church past, present, and future are revealed as the Bride of Christ. It is all for the praise and glory of God.