I Hold You in My Heart
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
On the heels of Colossians, we take up the book of Philippians which was probably written during the same Roman imprisonment, along with Philemon and Ephesians (c. 61-63ad). Paul had several men who would take his letters out into mission field and thus the Gospel was spread even as he resided in prison. God’s Word cannot be stopped.
A little historical information about Philippi may be helpful as such knowledge can expand our understanding of the Word.
At the time that the apostle wrote this letter, Philippi was still a rather important city. It had a long and eventful history. When Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, began to expand the Macedonian Empire shortly after he seized the throne in 359bc, he quickly annexed the territory in which the city called Krenides (meaning “fountains”) was located. He enlarged and fortified the city, then named it Philippi, after himself. If Philip and Alexander had not extended their empire so far to the east, the apostle Paul and the gospel could not have later moved so rapidly west.
Kuschel, H. J. (1986). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 7). Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House.
As I read through the passage today, one phrase immediately caught my attention. “It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart.” Paul expresses his sincere love for the people of Philippi that moved him to pray for them and appreciate them. If you are a member of a church or are attached in any way to the Body of Christ, someone feels this way about you. They hold you in their heart. The Church can be a difficult place. But despite the fact that the Body of Christ is made up of sinful beings, usually in the mix is a leader who genuinely loves you and wants the Lord Jesus to be the most important person in your life. Those words resonate through my heart this morning. There’s a whole group of people that I care deeply about because the Lord allows me to work in their midst. I want them to love Jesus more than anything else in their lives. I want them to experience His great passion for them and to know that He will bring them into His presence when they leave this earth. And now, because of the internet and its global reach those who read these blog posts are a part of that group as well. I want you to know that I hold you in my heart and I hold you before the throne of God in prayer. I rejoice that when you read this blog, first and foremost you are reading the Word of God. That makes me smile.