Philippians 1:3 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ."
The heart of a pastor. This passage is one where you can feel the love. In the old testament when God through Moses instituted the sanctuary and the priesthood the high priest wore an ephod on his chest. Attached to it were 12 precious stones, each one different, each representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The high priest represented Jesus and the ephod was a visual symbol to the people that the high priest carried them on his heart. The book of Hebrews explains all this and says that Jesus is currently in heaven as our High Priest and that He lives to pray for us (7:25).
Paul demonstrates here in his letter to the believers in Philippi that he truly has the heart of God toward them. He prays for them continually and carries them in his heart.
Now think about this. If Paul who was not from Philippi and didn't stay there for a long time could love them that much, how much more does Jesus love you and I? He created us. He knew us before we were even in our mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He prays for us daily. He carried our sins and died for them. He has plans to bring us Home with Him. I think it would be fair to say that He is more emotionally involved in our well being than Paul was toward the Philippians.
I can tell you as a pastor that I get emotionally involved. The welfare of my church family matters to me. I notice who comes through the doors and who does not. Long after I have moved away to serve elsewhere their memory and my emotional attachment to their continued well being continues to burn in my heart.
Each time I move my greatest fear is that I will never love my new church as much as the last but God keeps stretching my heart. If selfish broken me with my issues can feel so deeply for others it blows my mind to think of the love Jesus must have for us.
When I hear about the struggles of those I love I can feel my chest tighten. When I sometimes cry in my preaching people often wonder why. It is almost always because someone's burden is on my heart and the Word I'm preaching brings that raw emotion to the surface. Ministry is war and the territory being fought for is the lives of men.
Here is the Good News for today. No matter how dark and unpromising it may seem for yourself or someone you love Jesus is faithful. Just immerse yourself in this Word. It as surely applies now as it did then: 1:6 "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Jesus is working and will continue to work every day until He returns. We have nothing to fear. No addiction is stronger than He is. No brokenness is beyond His ability to heal and restore. No darkness in us can overcome the Light of His love and presence. No fear can survive in the unquenchable fire of His love for you because Perfect Love casts out fear.
Oh how obvious it is becoming to me that we don't think about the Reality of these things often
enough. Live in the Light. Live in the Truth. Set your heart and mind on things above! Start now. Today. Experience Grace. Always.