Loving The People Of God
Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Paul loved the people of God. You can see that in the way he talks about brethren. You can see that in the longing he had to be with them. You can see that in how careful he was and protective he was of them. He simply loved the people of God.
And, for Paul, one of his greatest punishments was being isolated from these brethren. Stuck in a prison, he could not have the closeness and the fellowship that he had on the outside. The chains were nothing to Paul. Prison bars didn’t bother him. What hurt him was not being with his beloved brethren and not seeing how they were doing. In his thoughts, in his heart, and in his prayers is where the people of God were for Paul.
Now all of this comes back around to us. Paul had a strong affection for the people of God. Today, there are some who can’t stand each other in the church. They talk nasty about others, never go out of their way for others and would rather spend the day with worldly family and friends than with the people of God. And, if it is that way, how in the world do they plan to spend eternity with the people of God in Heaven? What do they think will change? If they don’t like brethren here, how will they like brethren there?
What do folks think Heaven will be like and who do they think will be there? Heaven isn’t an amusement park. Heaven isn’t doing your own thing the way you want to. Something is very wrong when we feel more comfortable and have more in common with the world than we do the people of God.
God’s people are not perfect. We are all a work in progress. We all need Jesus. Yet, we are trying. We love the Lord and His ways. We seek to do what God says. We may be quirky, odd and different, but we certainly aren’t blaspheming the Lord’s name, ignoring His laws, and living a selfish, arrogant life. Not at all.
Paul understood that the people of God had something going for them. Don’t you think there were a few odd ones back then? Don’t you think there were a few that didn’t fit in with the fashions of the day. Don’t you think there were some who leaned a bit to the judgmental side of things. Yet, these are the people of God. They have obeyed Jesus. They have made the Lord, their Lord. They have surrendered their hearts to Jesus. They have crucified themselves. Daily they were praying. Daily they were imitating. Daily they were walking in the steps of the Savior. The Romans probably didn’t think they were cool. The Greeks certainly thought they were dense. The philosophers wouldn’t waste their time thinking about them. Yet, these were God’s people. His family. Heaven Bound.
First, any attempt to merge the world with Christ is certain to fail. Hip Christians. Cool Christians. With it Christians. Drop all those tags. Either we are with Jesus or we are not. Don’t impress the world by trying to be like the world. You are different, if you are a Christian. You are going a different direction and you are after different things.
Second, we must not allow the world to define what is fun, right or successful for us and we cannot let the world shame us because it will not go along with Christ. Every attempt of Satan fails. Look what he offered Eve. Was she better off after eating the forbidden fruit? Satan tempted her and then abandoned her. He used her and forsook her. It was God who came along with the animal skins. It was God who came up with a plan to redeem man. It was God who came and cleaned up the mess that Satan made.
Third, take your eyes off the world. The glitter of money and fame will twist our values and colors our vision. God has more interests in the hearts of those who are lowly, hurting and believing than those who think they are standing on top of the world.
Paul loved his brethren. Do you? Paul had a place in his heart for those dear believers. Do you? If the people of God do not excite you here, they certainly won’t excite you up in Heaven. All around us are the best people in the whole world. They are not famous. They are not headliners. But they fill the heart of God and someday they will fill Heaven.
God’s people—you just gotta love ‘em.