Paul made it a habit of practicing gratefulness. In not only this letter to the Philippians but in his letter to the Romans he showed his appreciation and encouragement. In Romans 1:8 he writes, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…” Why did he do this? Well, in Philippians 1:7 Paul goes on to add, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.” Paul not only practiced a grateful heart, but he went on to affirm the good in people. For when we show appreciation, say thank you, and speak positive words into someone…they are built up, edified, and given new self-worth.
Ask yourself what you hold dear today. What is it that’s precious and cherished in your life? Is it sitting in the garage, or on your wrist, or proudly placed in your house for all to see? Or are they intangible, incorruptible things that only come from a heart where the Holy Spirit abides? Jesus tells us that if our priority is gathering up wealth and riches down here on earth…our heart will soon become a haunt of unclean lusts. But if the things we value are Godly and right, we will have treasures in heaven that will never be exhausted. (Luke 12:34)
Last night our small group Bible study had quite a lively discussion on discrimination within the Church. We tend to be most comfortable at Church when everyone looks and acts like us. Our prejudice surfaces when someone outside that “mold” ventures into the Sanctuary seeking the Lord. Yes, they may not look like you…they may not have the same values or mores…but they are still a Child of God searching for the truth. We need to extend to them the same love that Jesus did…not judging, but supporting and encouraging as the Holy Spirit moves in their life.
You are the Lord Almighty. The mightiest Warrior…the all-powerful King of Israel. Your Rulership is over the entire universe. By Your power, You have created all things, and You stand ever ready to preserve their existence. We thank You Lord for Your faithfulness, and stand in awe of Your total authority.
In these verses we see the spirit of the Law vs the letter of the Law. In Matthew 23:23 Jesus chastised the Pharisees for their legalism and in doing so losing sight of the more important matters of the Law…things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. The Lord always searches the heart for honesty and sincerity and will reward accordingly.