Paul's Character

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Philippians 1:3-8

I thank my God every time I remember you. (v. 3 NIV)

Paul is blessed with both a good memory and a grateful heart. lf you don’t think you
have these, don’t despair. Both can be developed with use. Try exercising your heart and
memory together: give thanks for something every time you remember someone. This will also
cause your faith to grow as you see more of God at work and notice his kindness. By
turning memories into thanksgiving we give God the credit, encourage both ourselves and
others, and so grow spiritually.

Paul is especially thankful for the Philippians “partnership in the gospel” (v. 5). As
he opens his letter with thanksgiving, Paul looks back gratefully, looks round gratefully
and looks forward confidently (v. 6), for his trust is in Jesus Christ.

Paul next expresses his great concern for his friends in Philippi (vv. 7-8), wanting
them to feel a part of his ministry. Paul is very much a “ful” person: thoughtful,
grateful, thankful, and prayerful. He also lets his friends know what specifically he is
thankful for in them and how he is praying for them.

Paul’s character reflects Jesus, and we as followers of Jesus are called to work on our
character so that we do the same. Here is a useful exercise. Try working on this for a
week for everyone with whom you are in personal contact: thoughtfulness, thankfulness,
prayerfulness. Then tell your friends why you are thankful and how you are prayerful for
them.

PRAYER

“The best remembrance of our friends is to remember them at the throne of grace.” (Matthew Henry)