Daily Thoughts : February 21st
Phil 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion
This is an example of an unfinished verse! Four ‘ifs'! The follow on from Paul is, “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” He's appealing for unity in the church and it's like he is saying, if you have received benefit from these things as a result of being a Christian, then bless me in return by ensuring you have loving unity. So what are the ‘benefits' that he lists?
They are encouragement, comfort, fellowship and tenderhearted compassion. Have you ever stopped and thought that those are benefits that come from knowing Christ? When we are one with Christ, as children of God, then everything that comes towards us from God is encouragement in one form or another. He is constantly seeking to encourage us. But then as his love flows towards us we are comforted. The world seeks to cause us pain and upset, but God's love brings us constant comfort (‘comfort' is relief from distress). Part of the package is fellowship or heart sharing with God through His Holy Spirit. Being united with Him we can share all we feel with Him and know that He understands and responds. That is what fellowship is all about. Finally there is what I have called tenderhearted compassion – God's gentle response to me as He feels what I feel.
Now these things, he suggests, are things every Christian experiences and with Jesus' Spirit empowering, guiding and directing us, it is easy to be like-minded in these things, all experiencing and giving this encouragement, this love, this fellowship, this gentle hearted compassion, we have first received from Him, and as we do we will find we, being one in spirit, will have one purpose, to glorify and serve Him. Think on each of these and rejoice in them.
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