Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:12-13 NLT
What a beautiful picture of the deep personal relationship that Paul had with the saints in Philippi. Paul not only preached the gospel to them, he loved them as the family of God. He was more than a "passing through" preacher. Paul was their spiritual "under shepherd". Someone who was a "Dr." in theology once told me that I shouldn't get too close to my flock. I was appalled at the notion. Immediately, I was taken in my mind to the example of Jesus. He loved us with such "personal" involvement that He actually became one of us to understand what it was like to live in this human world (see John 3:16-18; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15 and 5:1-10). May I be frank here? Any minister who doesn't want to get "close" to his flock should consider whether he is called by God to the ministry. God calls us to love one another like Jesus loved us: enough to die for us. “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 NLT May God help us, who are "shepherds" (the word Pastor literally means "shepherd") to love the sheep. After all, we are sheep too! There is only One True Shepherd - Jesus Christ!!! If we are His servants, we will love like Him!! Lastly, Paul complimented the Philippian believers in their willful obedience while he was there with them. He, now, wants to know that they are steadfast in their obedience, even in his absence. Their obedience was an evident indicator of their genuine faith in Jesus Christ. He reminded them that God was working through them to do His will and for them to remember that God was always with them to help them accomplish their work in Christ. Obedience doesn't save us, but it surely does indicate our understanding of God's holiness and our allegiance to Him. God is with the believers today as well, helping us do what is right in service to Him. Let's be obedient!
Rev. Curtis Norris