Today’s reading is drawn from Philippians 2:5-18.
While Paul is under house arrest in Rome, he receives a gift from the Philippian church — one of the first churches he shared Jesus with. God prompts him to write them a joy-filled letter of thanks.
God started a great work in their hearts, and he will see it through until Jesus comes back. Paul prays that God will increase their knowledge of his great love for them so they’ll be able to tell the difference between good and evil in order to live fruitful lives.
After unbelieving Jews caused a riot in Jerusalem that resulted in his arrest, Paul eventually appealed his case to Caesar. Now in Rome, he might be executed. But he doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. Whether he lives to tell of Jesus’ love or dies to be with him, either way sounds good to Paul.
Paul urges believers to do for each other what Jesus did for all people: He laid down his life for all of us. As we live like people who have been rescued, we are to show the ways of light and life to a dark, dead world.
The Philippians are to reject teaching that says they can be saved by good works — they are part of God’s family, and their citizenship is in heaven because of what Jesus has done. Paul encourages them to stand firm in the Lord by rejoicing in him always, presenting him with their every need and trusting that he will take care of them.
The King’s Heart
God clothes the lilies. He decorates flowers that live mere weeks with colors that inspire artists. The flowers don’t have souls; they don’t have minds to think. They are fleeting, yet God sees to their needs. From 93 million miles away he sends sunlight to feed them, creates cycles to deliver life-rain, orchestrates our exhalations to be their provision.
God is aware of what a lily needs. And he provides for it. Not only does he provide, but he provides lavishly — the lily blossoms with beauty.
And we are God’s most precious treasures, the ones he loves so dearly that he gave up his Son. He knows our needs too, and he provides for us — his treasures — lavishly. There is no need for anxiety. He asks us to present our requests to him (see Philippians 4:6), not because he doesn’t know our needs, but so that we can recognize him when he answers.
The poem about Jesus in Philippians 2:6 – 11 might have been a hymn of the early Christian church, a hymn that Paul adapted for his letter.