Giving Thanks for Imperfect Christians

Helen Brownson

READ : Philippians 1:2-4

A Christian friend of ours is often abusive when we speak with him on the phone. He sends us hostile letters occasionally. He suffers from severe mental illness. Can I thank God for him? Am I willing to pray always for him with joy?

Paul models the answer in these verses. His sincere and loving feelings for these new believers in Philippi led him to thank God for them. Paul assured them of his supplication, offered continually for the whole fellowship of believers. This was his manner always.

To Colossian believers he says, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” To the Thessalonians he affirms, “We are bound to thank God always for you all . . . making mention of you always in our prayers.” To the Romans, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all . . . .” And to the Corinthians he states, “I thank my God always concerning you.” Were all these recent converts model Christians? Certainly not. If we read Paul’s letters carefully, we will discover that he wrote to many difficult people with serious problems. But he’s constantly grateful to God for all of them.

PRAYER

Dear Lord, help me to have Paul’s attitude toward imperfect believers, and to pray and be thankful for all of them.