Short Meditations in Philippians: 12. Progress?
Phil 1:25 I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith
I sense this is the last of this little series of reflections from Paul’s opening words to the church at Philippi. They have been challenging thoughts about holding other people on our hearts (from v.7), praying for them (from v.9), yearning that the love of the church will grow and grow (from v.9), being a righteous people (from v.10,11) who glorify the Lord (from v.11), a people who can rejoice in the face of adversity (from v.18), empowered by prayer and by the Spirit (from v.19), and thus confident of His deliverance in trials (from v.19) and careless of death (from v.21) who, as long as we remain here can be resources in the hand of the Lord (from v.24).
Now I have recapped these things because in verse 25 there are three words that again grab my attention for us: “for your progress”. Paul assumes there is more for these believers; he knows that when we come to Christ that is only the beginning, not the end. Life from then on will be one of constant change (see 2 Cor 3:18 – “ever-increasing glory”)
In our previous studies we noted our love which is to “abound more and more”. (v.9) When he sp0ke of this love to the Thessalonians he declared, “Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.” (1 Thess 4:10) To that same church he was to later say, “your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” (2 Thess 1:3)
This is all language of growth expectancy. We started in these studies later than Paul having said, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” (v.6) That again speaks of an ongoing process of God working in our lives, bringing ongoing changes in us.
If we are not sure what sort of changes He wants to bring in us, use the list of things in the first paragraph above as a check list or perhaps goals to set, heights to climb to with His enabling – an ever-increasing-in-love people, an ever-increasing-in-prayer people, an ever-increasing-in-observable-righteousness people, an ever-increasingly-steadfast-in-the-face-of-adversity people, an ever-increasingly-glorifying-God people, an ever-increasingly-empowered people, an ever-increasingly-available people, who are ever-increasingly-resources-for-other people. That should do for the time being! This is the confidence Paul has for the Philippians, that they will hear what he says and grow and abound in it more and more. May that also be true of us as well.