Paul shares with this group of believers why he cares so much about them. He didn’t plant this church personally but he cares for them as if he did. He shares Jesus’ care for them.
In my bible helps I am told that Paul was concerned about false teaching that came into this church. His heart is crying out for their protection!
God called Paul to be a minister to the Gentiles and he takes this calling seriously and personally. Paul knows he can’t be everywhere for everyone but he wants to make sure that the truth is spread above all else. His imprisonment has been instrumental in calling more attention to the gospel. It is a platform he can preach from. And his best message is how he is living for Jesus under those circumstances.
Two of the greatest tools in his “tool belt” are prayer and letters. Because he is stationary emissaries can easily come to him with reports of what is going on. He spends a LOT of time in prayer and he can add each need to his prayer time. The Spirit has greatly blessed Paul’s prayers and he sees results. He has learned to rely on the Spirit’s power. He also uses the Spirit in penning his letters. God truly speaks through his pen.
I would not be surprised to learn that Paul “intercedes” for these churches. I have seen the power of intercession personally and thank God for that avenue of prayer.
It does not matter to Paul that he hasn’t met these brothers and sisters in the flesh. They are his spiritual family and he loves them with the love of Jesus. Would that we would be that committed to our spiritual brothers and sisters, instead of being divided on every front. Can you imagine the unity that would result if we prayed for each other like Paul did? Jesus loves each of us so we should love each other. We should rejoice in victories and uphold during trials.
Above all else though, Paul made sure the whole truth was put before those he loved. Paul did not sugar coat anything but he also didn’t beat people about the head with the gospel. He shared Jesus’ message of love and reconciliation while also expecting behavior indicative of a changed life. Not salvation by works but works expressing a saved life. He willingly put his life on the line to share that message.
Father God, thank You for the apostles who walked the path before me. Thank You Jesus for first blazing the trail. I know I don’t always stay on that trail but You bring me back to it whenever I wander. Please help me be as bold as Paul when the need arises. Don’t let me be afraid of what others might think and therefore water down Your word. Also remind me to pray for my spiritual brothers and sisters; even the ones I have never and will never meet. Thank You for loving all of us!