Reading with My Heart

Philippians 4:10-14 

10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

I read this verse the other day and it spoke to me so deeply that I can not quite explain my sentiments about it clearly but I will try.

When I read it…it was in one quick moment I was able to see Paul for who he was… a man, alone ,but with a faith in Jesus so strong that the act of being alone never really was “alone”.

On various ocassions throughout the New Testament you read of Paul with a companion but so often in his writing he is singular, a man on a mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a man filled with the Spirit.

In the beginning of his ministry he was considered “untrustworthy” by the believers (after all, this was the man who was considered the arch-enemy of Christians during the early church. He was the terrible Saul of Tarsus). Before his conversion his entire mission in life was to annihilate the Christians. He had gone as far as requesting permission to bring back any follower of the “Way” for persuction! Is it any wonder that the Christians did not trust him? Would you? (Acts 9:1)

Once Saul became a believer his name was changed to Paul and then the leaders of the synagogues and the high priest no longer wanted anything to do wtih him. He was now considered unreliable and a traitor. (Acts 9)

I thought about the first verse (verse 10) and in my heart I felt his joy that the Philippians were thinking about him. He knew they were always concerncend and cared for him…but once again they were expressing their concern for Him. (Phil 4:15-17).

How many times in our lives do we need the encouragment of friends and family. People to come up beside us, people that are willing to pray for us and with us. What an amazing feeling it is to have our burdens lifted by our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have experienced this and am forever grateful for the people in my life who have been willing to be “Jesus” to me when I have been in need. I wonder if that joy is not what caused Paul to write that statement. You know in modern times…it might have read “Hey, guys….it is so awesome that you called me. Man, I’ve missed talking to you. No, I totally understand your busy me too!”

Then true to Paul’s character…he reminds them in verses 11, 12 & 13. That he is able to do everything in Christ’s power and strength. That he has learned to be content with whatever he has a little or a lot.

I want to be like that…I want to relish my friendships and learn to be a confidant to my family and friends. I want to be able to be happy with my friends and family in the ‘moment’. Whatever that may be.

But more then that I want to be like Paul and be able to say I have Jesus and that’s all I need. Once again, I read his reply a bit differently, with my heart. I hear him saying “Hey friends, I’m glad to see you but don’t worry about me. Don’t feel guilty for not visting or writing. I am ok. I am fine. Jesus has walked with me every step of the way and I am alright”

I want to be “alright”. When my friendships are fertile, active and plentiful and when there is no one around but me and the Lord. I want to be alright.

I believe with all my heart that the Lord wants us to treasure our earthly relationships. To grow and learn from them. To encourage each other, to pray for each other and to lean on one another…but ultimately he want us to say: “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Phil 4:13 – The Message)


~ by iemommy on January 27, 2009.

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