"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."
As I am reading the first part of the book of Philippians, I feel like this is how it should be, and will be, for this group of missionaries. I don't want to get mushy here, but I think I will always hold my team in my heart, with the affection of Christ Jesus.
My commentary on Philippians says, "Paul's affection overflowed here because 1) he held the Philippians in his heart, and 2) they shared in the hardships of the ministry of the gospel, and 3) Paul truly longed for them with the affection of Christ Jesus."
Now, I obviously don't really long for any of the people on my team, because I am with them 24/7. But they are dear friends, and people that I am extremely close to. I hold them in my heart, and I think I always will. And honestly, there is pretty much no one else who truly understands this work. Very few people in the world can relate to what it's like having a rough day the way we have rough days, with doors slammed in our faces, rough Spanish blunders, and many cancelled visits. But we are facing hardships for the sake of the gospel.
And in this commentary I am using to study Philippians, he talks about how the foremost theme in the book of Philippians is fellowship. But not sitting-around-drinking-coffee fellowship or potluck fellowship that we associate with church fellowship in the States, but a fellowship that comes only from a unified focus.
And not just any focus, but a gospel-centered, others-focused ministry. We want to share the gospel. We want to put others before ourselves. We want to speak about and represent the love of God in every way. And because of this unified focus, we are bonded together through the Holy Spirit. Like Paul and the Philippians.
I hope that this also becomes the case with the churches I am planting. I don't want fellowship for them to just mean coming together and eating choclo con queso (corn-on-the-cob with cheese), but to actually be bonded together through the shared goal of sharing the gospel and making disciples in all the world.
And I ask that this would be your prayer for me, that my love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that I may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.