Paul is closing his letter with a farewell to his Philippian friends. In this farewell though, he can’t help squeezing in a little praise report.
This letter from Paul has been a positive one. Very little correction or redirection was involved. He did lightly address discord between two women but that seemed to be minor. The majority of the letter focused on praise.
Paul focused on praise for the support he received from this group. They had been with him from the beginning of his ministry. They were one of the churches he planted on his first missionary journey and they were thriving under the Holy Spirit’s direction.
Another area of praise Paul focused on was the return to health of one of their members who was with him at the time. This man had come to minister on behalf of this body to Paul. While with Paul he became so ill he nearly died, but God spared his life in response to the prayers of those who loved him. Paul was more than happy to share this praise report.
Paul also gave great directions for all of us in what to focus on. Focus on the praise and not the problems. Think on these things and practice this way of living. This is vital to our spiritual growth. In reminding us to do this Paul shared a crucial point for us to remember. God is bigger than our problems and He is in control. We can trust Him to bring about good things when we trust Him with our lives.
Paul’s final greeting, simple as it may be, demonstrated God’s good purpose even in the middle of Paul’s trying circumstances. “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household” (verse 22). Paul was in chains in Rome for a reason. He was brought there just as sure as Joseph was brought in chains to Egypt. God had a work to do and He made a way for His man to get there and get into position. I don’t know if Caesar himself received Jesus but many in his household did. They did this because of Paul’s ability to share there. That was Paul’s praise.
I wonder if the Philippians reading this letter recognized the significance of that quick note. Did they rejoice with Paul? Did they take in the significance and success of Paul’s mission from those words? God brought Paul to the middle of the known world to share the gospel and it was received into the highest houses. Yes, there were many who wouldn’t accept Jesus’ sacrifice, but the ones who would were worth God sending them a teacher. Praise God He thinks we are ALL worth hearing His message!
Father God, I’m not as “praise focused” as Paul was but thank You for showing me that final praise in his letter. Thank You that You care about each person and You arrange events to ensure we all receive a teacher when we need one. Thank You that You sent teachers to me, especially my parents. I want to look for the praise in everything and be more like Paul in that respect. I believe You are already working on that aspect of me. Keep it going!