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Philippians 1:7 – For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. The Apostle Paul references his participation in leading the church he is writing to at Philippi. In this first chapter he thanks God for the memories he has of his time spent with them, especially for their embrace of the gospel. Verse six references the assurance that Christ will complete what He began in them.

Today’s verse confirms and gives two reasons Paul holds them in such high esteem; because he has them in his heart and they employ God’s grace just as the apostle does. And nothing is going to deter Paul from loving them, not when at work teaching and defending the gospel, but even in his imprisonment. Not only does he believe that his feelings toward them are right, but Paul says he holds them in the seat of emotion in his life—in his heart. Paul views his relationship with them as both a privilege and a responsibility. His feelings are not just static thought, but vibrant, motivating, and active thought, rich with emotion. And the separation between them is merely physical. In his very being, he is right there with them praying and preaching, and not only is he with them, but they are with him as “partakers of grace” they received as defenders and confirmers of the gospel.

Even in prison, in bondage, Paul defended what he knew to be true; the gospel of Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior. And he reaches out to the people who shared and were still sharing in these things so they would be encouraged and continue. Paul makes it clear to them that the gospel was worth everything he was going through and this realization were rooted in recognizing God’s grace even in a tough time.

Think about relationships you have...

Do you have fond memories of someone that shared in your Christian walk, or is there someone you are currently making memories with, in Christ?

Are you focused on the obstacles that trip you up and “the sin which so easily entangles you” (Hebrews 12:1), or are you focused on God’s grace that holds you on course; “fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith” (v. 2)?

Do your actions “confirm” the gospel as Paul said the Philippians did or does your life point to other things?

Who in your life are you encouraging in the faith?

Is there anyone you need to engage to become “partakers of grace” from Jesus?

PRAYER: Kind Father, your love and grace sustain us even when we do not acknowledge our relationship with you in all things. Thank you for the opportunity for repentance and help us realize those things we need to turn from. Work in our lives as we assess the relationships, we are involved in. Lead us step by step in the directions we need to go. We lift this prayer in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.