Day 4 – Philippians 1:3-6

Day 4

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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.” Philippians 1:3-6 NIV

Writing from a prison in Rome, likely about 800 miles away, Paul addresses the church at Philippi. He does not come to them with a rebuke but with an attitude of gratitude. He lets them know that in all of his memories of them, he only offers thanks. These memories are always a source of joy to him. He values their support of him in sharing the gospel, both by how they have personally supported him, and also how they themselves are partnering in the spreading of the gospel.
Paul takes a few moments to encourage them by reminding them that the work that has been started in them will be completed by a God who can be trusted. They do not need to be anxious about the journey but to simply trust in the initiator of the work in them. They did not save themselves and they cannot bring themselves to a place of being the perfected work of God. That is God’s job and He will be faithful to it. When God starts something he doesn’t walk away from it. He completes what he begins. This work is not just a work of the moment but is carried on step by step, through ups and downs, through dangers, and setbacks. Still, God sees the entire process through. We often get excited about beginning a work, but God commits to the entirety of the work. When He begins a work He pledges to complete that work. What a reason to be thankful.

Paul’s life was lived in response to the love of Christ not his mood that day. The relationship between Paul and the church went deeper than human friendships. Yet, he had every reason to be distant. It was at Philippi that he was mistreated, he was put into stocks, and, up to date, likely saw very little fruit to his labour. He lacked fellowship, lacked connection, but nothing could break the true connection in Christ. He remembers them with joy. He could do that because he looked upon his suffering for Christ as his credit, his crown, and a reason to celebrate. He was pleased to mention any place that he had suffered. His hardships did not make him bitter, but better. True joy does not depend on ones situation or place in line, rather it depends on the recognition of Whose I am. When we take Christ into every circumstance, only then we will have true joy. Paul was not the prisoner of Rome, he was the prisoner of Christ (Ephesians 3:1). The soldiers chained to his wrists were not guards, but lives for whom Christ died. He could look over all his setbacks, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, and see that they served to advance the gospel. He understood that gratitude is God focus not self worship.

Today I am thankful for all who have been a support in my life, both through moments of joy and moments of pain. I am grateful for the different members of the body in this area who work together to see Jesus lifted up. I am grateful that these believers know how to walk together rather than compete with one another. I am thankful for God’s commitment to not give up on me, but to see His work through in my life. The church is God’s idea and I am thankful He has allowed me to be a part of it. I am humbly grateful.


  1. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    I am thankful for all the teachers and mentors God has given to me over the years who taught me about Jesus and modeled what it means to be one of His followers-not just in words but by example. Bible verses and stories taught to me when I was a child have stayed with me and influence me now. Those who planted seeds,those who watered those seeds,those who demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit in their lives-many have passed on and yet their influence on me remains. Thankful that God uses us to spread the Gospel message to others. Praying I will continue to be faithful to Him and that He will use me to reach others for Him. Thankful that the work He started in me years ago is continuing and will do so til it is completed.

  2. Reply
    Jim Holmes says:

    Today’s passage makes me reflect back to the comment made for the posting 2 days ago. I thank God for you! It is for my joy that you are part of the family of God in Christ. You see, God is not only doing a special work in you, but He is also doing a special work in me…God is preparing us together for Christ Jesus…for a special day coming. We will forever be part of His family, and so I rejoice and am thankful for you, as I see more and more of Jesus expressed, living in you…for you have been crucified with Christ, but it is not you, but Christ in you, and you live, because He lives in you. We are one in Christ. Together we are one body, unified in His love…your maturity is healing for me, joy for me, peace for me, life for me…because you carry His Presence for me. For where there are two or three gathered together, He is there for us…showing us the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Praying in Christ for one another is the best gift anyone could ever give me or you. It’s a gift we can carry into eternity. I thank God upon every remembrance of you because I saw Jesus in you reaching out, touching me, encouraging me, lifting me up, healing me, giving me peace, joy…you brought His refreshing Presence into my life…so that I might also become His hand in the life of another.

  3. Reply
    Sue Holmes says:

    What stands out to me is the tremendous value that is found in relationships that are both founded in Christ and Christ-centered. A pure Christ-centered relationship has one focus … to honour and glorify God. There is much said in scripture about our need for each other. Paul encourages us in Galations 6:2 to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”. Again in the same epistle he urges “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” (Gal 6:6). In the book of Hebrews he warns us against neglecting to meet together & to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25). This isn’t just a New Testament, feel good, post-crucifixion phenomenon. In the Old Testament scriptures, we are told in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”. I’m reminded of the bond between Jonathon and David, the partnership of Aaron & Hur with Moses, the companionship & apprenticeship of Elijah & Elisha. I could spend eons studying the value of the Christian body to each other and probably not exhaust the subject.
    So, it is no surprise that our enemy wants to ‘divide and conquer’. He sneaks in with rumors, doubts, half truths, gossip and any number of other ‘darts’ to throw at us and cause splinters in relationships in the body of Christ. I wonder how many of these and other tactics the enemy tried to use on Paul as he sat in his rat infested prison chained to guards and not knowing when or if he would ever be released on this side of eternity. I can imagine the thoughts that satan tried to saturate Paul with. Thoughts such as “Now you are truly alone. Was it all worth it?”, “They never really accepted you anyway.”, or maybe “You are going to die here and no one will know.” It was a prison and prisons are meant to isolate, to demoralize, and to tear one down. Just as our spiritual prisons are meant to do today as we each endure our spiritual battles.
    But Paul didn’t succomb to the enemy’s tactics. He instead focused on those who had helped bear his burdens. He focused on those who shared with him and supported him. He focused on those he had shared moments of encouragement with. He knew the strength that came with Christ-centered relationships and he had studied and knew of the great relationships in the Old Testament scriptures that were key to seeing God’s plans carried out.
    Today I think back on the people who have influenced me, encouraged me, without realizing it brought me through dark times, and truly exemplified Christ through their lives. I’m reminded of ones who have given me the privilege of working with them and under them. There isn’t a time in my history that I don’t remember someone (usually many) that God had placed in my path to walk along side. I can’t help but be thankful for each of you because without you I would be missing so much of the beauty of Christ. You are each His body and display His workmanship. I thank God for each member of His body past, present & future that He has brought along side to walk this journey together.
    Although there may be times of isolation and there may be ‘prison-times’ there are never times of being truly alone. Christ has promised to never leave or forsake us. As long as He is there His body is also present as we build each other up. For that I am thankful.

  4. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    i find it very interesting how many times I have read these verses and put my own spin on them. Verse 3 is just like it says. I have many wonderful and some not so wonderful people in my life, that when God lays them on my heart I thank Him for them. Some have been such an encouragement to me and others have been like iron sharpening iron, sparks fly but new territory gets opened up for God to work on. Some bring out a cry for salvation and compassion, while others draw a deep pure love.
    Verse 4 I have always attached to verse 3, that in every prayer of mine for them I am thankful and then I have claimed the joy of making a request for me. Now I see it is the requests I make for them that I should being doing with great joy. I think I have to work on this part because I do not feel joy as I pray for some of the situation. I guess the joy is in knowing Who holds the concern and that He is able to answer in the most wonderful ways.
    Verse 5, as I look at it I think it has just been a verse I read but did not really look at. Now as I really look at all thes three verses they fit together like a hand in a glove. For those who have fellowshipped with me over the years I am truly thankful, for they have been the gospel,of Good News to me on so many occasions, and for these precious ones I can make all my requests with great joy.
    Verse 6 Now this verse has been one of my foundation rocks! So much work to do in me and through me. And to think God, my Daddy, has promised to complete that good work in me. WOW! And it has been a verse I have quoted often to others when they felt the work was to great and needed to be encouraged to keep on keeping on.
    For day 4 I am truly thankful and glad that I have looked at this portion of scripture more closely and see what a beautiful prayer it is. A prayer for all those who fellowship in the gospel of Good News with me

    • Reply
      Sue Holmes says:

      Pat, this morning I am joyfully giving thanks to God for how you have opened up this scripture even more. As with you, I hadn’t before made the connection between joy and the requests I make for the rest of the body … even those involved in the iron sharpening process. Something that I need to purposely work on. 🙂

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