Philippians 1:3-5a

Spiritual Relationships

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,…” (Philippians 1:3-5a)

How many of us had a best friend during our childhoods?  Probably all of us. In fact, we probably have had two or three “best” friends, if that were logically possible.  But what made a person qualify as your best friend?  I’m sure there was time spent playing together, sharing meals, sleepovers, birthday parties, sports, school activities and of course the fights which led to immediate decisions to recant the term best friend — at least for a day or two.  The principle root was you had things in common and agreeable personalities.  Think about that person now. Are they still your best friend?  Are you all still really close and share lives? For some of us, that closeness is a reality. For most of us, significant changes have occurred in our lives that have altered the relationship. Changed values, distance, or other circumstances are some of the things that can change the intimacy of relationships. But is there a constant that can maintain and strengthen our relationships despite the temporal changes that we will all experience? 

Relationships are spiritual in origin and nature. God is triune in nature – The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.  Within the Godhead, there is perfect oneness among each member. All throughout Scripture, we read of the perfect relationship between each member of the Godhead. The Father loves and glorifies the Son. The Son loves and glorifies the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son and the Father. There is an inexplicable divine flow of relational purpose and perfection within the Godhead.

As believers, we’re part of one body, filled with one Spirit for one purpose.  As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” One way to glorify God on earth is to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ for the building and strengthening of His kingdom. To do this according to God’s flawless design we are to display our redemption relationally by the enabling of the Spirit.  Because we were called into fellowship with His Son (1 Corinthians 1:9), congruently this calls us into fellowship with one another as we are members of one another (Romans 12:5).  In fulfilling God’s design, He is glorified and we are individually and corporately strengthened as the virtues of godliness flow through us, among us and from us. This is why Paul was joyfully thankful to God for the Philippians partnership in the gospel.

The Philippian church partnered with Paul by sending a financial gift to Paul while in Thessolonica that enabled him to meet his practical needs (Philippians 4:14-16) while going through harsh persecution (Acts 17:1-9). They exercised their spiritual gift of giving despite their less than affluent circumstances. But let’s be careful not to miss the underlying issue. The motive for the Philippians gift, was their love for God and love for man. Their love for God and man compelled them to support the work of God (Paul’s ministry) to the Thessalonians to display the love of God.  Their financial and prayer support was solid evidence of the working of the Spirit in their lives for Christ’s glory.  This is the transcendent constant that distinguishes spiritual relationships (Christ’s glorification) from worldly relationships (self gratification).

May our relationships with one another be energized, thrive and sustain on this divine truth for the glory of Christ.

d.

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One thought on “Philippians 1:3-5a

  1. You said: “…Within the Godhead, there is perfect oneness among each member. All throughout Scripture, we read of the perfect relationship between each member of the Godhead. The Father loves and glorifies the Son. The Son loves and glorifies the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son and the Father. There is an inexplicable divine flow of relational purpose and perfection within the Godhead…”

    First, David I am pleased to see you giving blogging a chance, using this medium to pontificate about things God is working in your heart and mind. Doesn’t it feel good to have a place to chronicle these things, to flush yourself out, and even have a place to state your official position on lofty matters? Then you can you can point others who want to know how you feel about thus and so? For example, if anyone wants to know about how you feel about Christian relationships– this post is a good reference to begin a “live” discussion. But that’s not even the thing that urged me to comment here. That quote above incites me to chorus, la la la la la la la laaaaaaaah; there is such warmth and inspiration in me as I ponder this Triune relationship. Paul Tripp says we should be the saddest people on earth because we have insight on how things are suppose to be, what God intended. At the same time, of course, we should be the most joyful relative to the promises of God, Him making good on His original intentions. I feel dat! I comment here because I’ve experienced (in prayer) a tiny glimpse of this harmony and love affair in the Godhead. I want to see it operating in me! This is my aspiration in life, to partake of the Divine nature in this way–then I can be more sure of the authenticity of my surrender to Him (John 13:35 & II Peter 1:4). This seems to be a crucial litmus test. For I’ve labored (often hurried & wreckless—lacking certain care, finesse, and timing :)) as much as I have to be “right” with people motivated by this aspiration. It is why I labor as much as I do in motive monitoring and the critical analysis of my self (according to 2 Corinthians 13:5) and seeking “do overs” in prayer for I’m convinced Psalm 14 and Jeremiah 17:9 really do apply to me! How I long to experience this with the brethren? How I wail to have such a clean heart toward others in the Body whereby I’m saying like the Psalter in Psalm 16:3, that the saints are those in whom is all my delight! But how sin in me betrays me; I am far from this reality. I weep over my rank hypocrisy and un-cleanliness (per James 4:9-10) yet paradoxically, I rejoice right after I weep–because I prove the Gospel. I rejoice because it’s becoming evident after each prayer that I’m losing confidence in self and realizing a desperate infant-like dependency upon Christ’s person & work. Those darn spiritual antinomies. There is no way around facing off with them. They are a must in order to experience the Divine nature on earth, right? Yet they are a challenging obstacle course to produce needed spiritual fitness? Par for the course, ride or die, I signed up–by His grace I won’t quit! So I’m not so worried about my “form” anymore, if I sovereignly stumble to get through them—oh well, keep it moving on to the finish line.–form will improve with practice right? Paul Tripp points to the “kingdom of self” as the ultimate obstacle. Well, my kingdom of self is being demolished like the Temple in 70 AD 🙂 I’m still a work in serious progress much debris in my heart yet to be cleared away. So continue to pray for me–bruh as I run my race, in my lane! Like whatcha saying!

    Tish
    ATL
    Proverbs 24:16

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