It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. –Philippians 1:7, 8
Everyone needs some time off from their jobs, right? Imagine that you didn’t have any vacation time planned for a while, or you had used up what you did have. One day, however, you simply did not feel like going to work. What would happen if you called your boss and said that you weren’t coming in today. “Why not?” he asks. “Are you sick?” “No,” you reply, “I just don’t feel like working today.” Do you suppose your boss would understand? You know the answer; probably not. We know that if we take such an attitude that we will not have a job for long.
The book of Philippians demonstrates that Paul the Apostle was committed to the work of the gospel. He would serve the Lord, preach the Word, and minister to the people whether he felt like it or not. So great was his love for God and his love for the church that nothing would deter him. He loved the church with a sacrificial kind of love. He and the church had numerous shared burdens and victories. Sharing such experiences together strengthens the bond that exists between us through Jesus Christ.
The believers were in his heart and on his mind. “I have you in my heart,” he said (v 7). As he went about proclaiming the truth of the gospel, he thought continually about those dear believers who were constantly praying for him and supporting him. In Christ we can stand together and support one another as we share in the gospel ministry, but also through the trails of life. In a world full of lies, falsehoods, and half-truths, the gospel is genuine truth. Jesus Christ is the solid rock to whom we can cling during the storms of life. As followers of Christ we love the Lord and serve one another regardless of the circumstances of our lives.
Shall we serve the Lord only when the circumstances of life are going well? Not at all; we serve the Lord, do the work of the ministry, and reach out to a lost and hurting world whatever the problems and situations we are facing. God is faithful and will empower us to deeper levels of faith as we persevere and follow His will.
Are you feeling discouraged today? Remember that God has a plan and He will not abandon us – ever. Someone somewhere loves you and is praying for you today. Why is that? Because just as Paul said of the believers in Philippians, they have you in their hearts.
Be encouraged, and be of good cheer and solid faith. You are loved and a vital part of the Kingdom of God. Move forward in faith and claim God’s promises today.