This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Pastoral Reflections on Philippians

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” – Philippians 1:3

This says much about Paul’s love for the believers for there were divisions among the people of the church. They were arguing and the church was in trouble. Yet, in every remembrance of them, he thanked God for them. That is incredible. Such was the love of Christ in Paul, that he loved others the same as Christ loved them. He saw people as God sees them. When God sets his love upon a person, He loves that person regardless of the blemishes that person displays. God’s love is constant and unending regardless of the person’s sin and failures. If they are the Lord’s, then he loves them the same as he does the victorious saint. Paul looked past the issues they faced and loved them and thanked God for them.

When we understand God’s love in this way toward ourselves, we too can love people just the same and thank God for them regardless of their faults and blemishes and sinful habits.  When a person’s heart has been so changed by the love of God, it will show in his attitude and love toward other saints. A true shepherd as was Paul, will love and care and gently instruct them. Any correction he has to do, will be done in the same love they have received from Christ and it will be without judgement.  A true shepherd will know how easily it is for a saint to slip and fall into sin and when he restores such a one, he is very aware that this saint belongs to Christ. That this one is precious, has been redeemed with the eternal and priceless blood of Christ and it is an honour to be used of the Lord to lift up and restore one of God’s people. The shepherd will give more than a glass of water, for to do so is like giving to Christ himself. Paul was such a shepherd.

There might be some of God’s people in your life that are hard to love and to give thanks to God for. But in spite of their blemishes, the love you have received from Christ is able to overcome the flesh and turn your heart to them to give thanks to God for them. Paul said, “the love of Christ constrains me.” That means that Christ’s love controls him and enables him to give far more than a glass of water to those in need, those who have fallen into sin.  You are, in following the Lord’s example, to give thanks to God for them.  Thank the Lord for them in every remembrance of them for that helps in passing on the love that Christ has shown you.

May you be blessed of the Lord today as you thank Him for all those you live among, to whom the Lord has called you to minister.

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