But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor : Paul was confident that God intended him to be fruitful. If Paul lived, it would be a fruitful life. In sad contrast, many Christians have not yet come to the place where it is a certainty that they will bear fruit for the kingdom of God with their life. For I am hard pressed between the two : Knowing that his death could be a gain — both for the gospel and for him personally — Paul was torn between being with the Lord or continuing to minister to the Philippians and others.
Having a desire to depart and be with Christ : It is strong to say, but one must say that Paul, in some way, wanted to die. The Greek word has much force in it.
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He panteth, he longeth to be gone. Paul probably had many motivations to depart. Paul knew that if he did depart , the journey would not be long. How long will be its voyage?
How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How often shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to the sea that knows no storm. Oh tell it, tell it everywhere; yon ship that has just departed is already at its haven.
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It did but spread its sail and it was there. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you : Paul understood that others still needed him; that his work was not yet done. So while allowing for the possibility of his martyrdom, he told the Philippians that he expects to be spared at this time I know that I shall remain and continue with you.
Paul was confident and full of faith, yet seems short of absolute certainty. His lack of absolute certainty is a comfort to us. As it happened, Paul survived this imprisonment, was set free, and was martyred later at Rome.
Enduring Word Bible Commentary Philippians Chapter 1
He did come to visit the Philippians again. Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,. This is a theme he will draw on again in Philippians. I may hear of your affairs : Paul wanted the Philippians to know they were accountable before him. He would check up on them. That you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind : Paul wanted to know that the Philippian church stayed together as one body, without becoming fragmented and fractionalized.
Striving together for the faith of the gospel : Paul wanted their unity to be put to a productive purpose, so that an increasing trust and belief in the good news of Jesus Christ would be promoted among those who already believed and among those who had yet to believe. And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
Which is to them a proof of perdition : When Christians are not in any way terrified by [their] adversaries , that in itself is proof of perdition — meaning destruction — to their adversaries. Perdition the ancient Greek word apolia means destruction, wasting, or damnation. The word is also used in places like Philippians and 2 Peter Both Judas John and the Antichrist 2 Thessalonians are called the son of perdition.
When Christians stand strong against intimidation against the world, the flesh and the devil, it shows those spiritual enemies that their ultimate destruction is certain. When our spiritual enemies fail to make us afraid, they have failed completely because they really have no other weapon than fear and intimidation. But to you of salvation : When Christians are not in any way terrified by [their] adversaries , it is also evidence of their own salvation. In the Lord, we can surprise ourselves with our boldness.
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For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. For to you it has been granted : It was granted to the Philippians to believe in Him. In the same way this belief was granted to them, so also was the privilege to suffer for His sake. But also to suffer for His sake : The ancient Greek word for suffer here is pasko.
This word is used primarily in the sense of persecution. However, it is also used of physical sufferings not related to persecution Acts , and Matthew , of suffering under temptation Hebrews and hardships in a general sense 1 Corinthians , and Galatians All could not stand the fiery ordeal. They would speak rashly and complainingly. So the Master has to select with careful scrutiny the branches which can stand the knife.
Dare to thank Him for it.
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Look inside the envelope of pain for the message it enfolds. It is a rough packing-case, but there is treasure in it. Having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me : The Philippians had the same kind of conflict Paul had among them in Philippi and the same kind that Paul faced in Rome. The conflict of the Philippians concerned the difficulty of walking right with the Lord and proclaiming the gospel when persecuted and under attack. Conflict is the ancient Greek word agon , which described a place where athletic contests were held and later came to refer to the contest itself.
We get our words agony and agonize from this ancient Greek word. Ours is to trust in His everlasting love in spite of what we see and experience. You tell me to rejoice in You at all times, but this seems impossible. Only You can give me the sight to see Your work in the midst of earthly struggles.
Please help me trust You even when circumstances are bleak. Continue to show me Your ways.
Subscribe below to get email notifications of new posts. We post a few times a month. Thank you for reading. Hope Remains. I have a good friend named Ches who, when introduced to something new, will bring it to his nose to smell it. Of his friend, A. However, the thought of fully appreciating something for what it is, even when unpleasant, awakens a longing within me. John Piper has been moved by the application of quiddity in his own life.
And not just to be aware but to wonder. To be amazed that the water is wet. It did not have to be wet. If there were no such thing as water, and one day someone showed it to you, you would simply be astonished.
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I too want to appreciate what makes the people and things around me unique. Several benefits of this focus come to mind:. But these difficult aspects of my journey have played a major part in who I am today. The unpleasant parts of life have been used to prune my heart as I desire to be full of Joy, in the Lord, always. Lord, help me to fully embrace all moments of my life. Help me understand, that in your sovereignty, You allow me to experience all manner of people and things for your purposes.
Teach me to embrace and cherish all you bring my way, the pleasant and unpleasant. Fully embracing my surroundings, appreciating the quiddity of all aspects of my journey, keeps me from worrying about me.
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This is extremely freeing. These senses are only active now. Please keep me focused on the present and teach me how to fully appreciate the qualities of the people and objects you bring my way. By appreciating and seeking to understand how God has uniquely made each person, I can more easily love them as Christ has loved me. Please give me a full understanding of the essence and uniqueness of every person You bring my way, even those who seem unpleasant.
I need to spend more time with Ches, learning how to rub my nose in the magic of what surrounds me. Lord, You know my desire to Rejoice in You always. Thank you for showing me about Quiddity. Please teach me how to keep my eyes off of me and on everything you bring my way. May my appreciation of my surroundings help me praise and worship You moment by moment. Scripture is full of verses on it and its many derivatives.
It seems to touch a deep longing, leaving us craving more. Were we designed to need it and seek it? Will we keep searching for it until we find it, or die trying? King Solomon recognized his own deep emptiness, though he was the wisest man alive and abundantly wealthy.