[CF Devotionals] 2003-09-21 - Philippians

Part 21

  1. The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.

    Verses 2:19-24: Next Paul moved on to two "mundane" pieces of business. He intended to send both Timothy and Epaphroditus to the Philippians. Timothy was to go so Paul could be provided with news of what was occurring in the church, and because he knew Timothy would look out for their needs as he would have liked to himself. He once again states he hopes the day will come when he can go to them, but meanwhile he was sending Timothy, whom he considered to be like his son.

    Even here Paul was noting the contrast between the believer and non-believer. Whereas Timothy was concerned with the needs of others, in the final analysis, the unrighteous is only concerned with himself. Sure, there may be the appearance of altruism, but only with the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit can there be the true spirit of agapé.

    Verses 2:25-30: Paul also told them he was returning Epaphroditus to them. He made it clear how valuable he considered him to be, calling him a brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier. As noted earlier, this may have been to offset some concern over his work for Paul. Epaphroditus had been gravely ill. But due to the mercy of God, he had recovered, and so Paul didn’t have to weep over his death. Because of the concerns of the Philippians for Epaphroditus, Paul felt it was necessary to send him home. Paul calls them to honor Epaphroditus because of his work for the ministry of the Lord. Epaphroditus, like Paul is another example of agapé - putting the needs of others ahead of themselves. Paul had given up his freedom. Epaphroditus had almost given up his life for the gospel.

    The answer to maintaining joy in spite of the actions of people, is to be more concerned with them than with oneself. Jesus gave up His life. Jesus temporarily give up His prerogatives as God. He did these things for us. Paul gave up his position in the Sanhedrin. Now he had given up his freedom. Timothy was more concerned with caring for others than for looking out for himself. Epaphroditus had given so much to the work of the Lord, that it was only due to the mercy of God that he hadn’t died.

    True joy, true freedom from the actions of others, only comes when we put God first, and all others ahead of ourselves. After all, isn’t this the model that Jesus provided for us? Isn’t this the call to obedience to the great commands?

    "…‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40).

Questions or Comments?
Geoff

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