” If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!   I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,”-{Philippians 1:22-25}

Paul had said he was caught in between two desires, the “desire” to “depart” and “be with Christ,” and the desire to remain for the benefit of the believers Christian growth. How wonderful his heart revealed for “others,” and this as he was imprisoned!  It wasn’t he desired to be with Christ to get him out of a difficult situation, suffering unjustly, no, he “desired” to be with the LORD Jesus, because in Paul’s estimation the LORD was desirable! He wanted to “be with Christ,” because Christ was HIS TREASURE, not his “get out of prison card!” Many, many years ago a friend gave me a note that an older lady who he just to collect and drive back and forth from Bible study meetings had in her Bible that he discovered after she had went to be with the LORD. Though it is over 35 years since he shared it with me, I still remember the words this dear lady had written on a piece of paper. She had written, “LORD I come into Your Presence not with a  want list, just desiring to be with You!” Her Desire was… Himself! That’s Love! She want come to Him for what He could do for her but because of Who He was!  For Paul life was Christ, “For me to live is Christ…”-{Phil 1:21}. For Paul death was “far better,” because he would get to “…be With Christ.” -{Phil 1:23}. Whether in life or death his desire was Christ. ” Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”-{Matthew 6:21}


 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor: “- {v 22.} Paul was confident that God had a purpose for him, and that it was he may be Spiritual FRUITFUL. Not just living out his days and of no spiritual use to others, to be spiritually barren, but to be Fruitful. To be producing something of eternal value! Paul was convinced that if God wanted him to live, it would be that he be fruitful. Life was not about finding a “rocking chair” on the porch and seeing out your days, in retirement, tired and waiting for the sunset upon his life to come down and head off into that sunset. Not so, Paul had purpose for his life because God had purpose for him as he does for…you, me. There is no retirement in God’s economy, as long as you are breathing. You may retire from a physical job, but nor from God’s job as his Ambassador. God has purpose for you. Purpose that Paul continue laboring, and that not in vain, but to be fruitful, in his investing into the lives of these dear believers!  Paul says if he is to continue on living in this world, that he does so with purpose and is fruitful in his labor for the LORD.

What is spiritual fruit? Spiritual RESULTS, which the Holy Spirit Produces!

And note it comes forth, he says, “from my LABOR!” It comes forth from his hard work! He worked at investing into the lives of others and as a result expected spiritual results! And God would see his labor would produce such! Paul now gives the PURPOSE for his remaining; “…continue with” (sumparameno–remain alongside to help)  for their spiritual growth in their “joy and faith! ” He has a specific goal, and he writes to them to reveal what it is, he is “here for you,” but with specific Purpose- your progress in your JOY and FAITH. As they grow in their faith despite the opposition and resistance they will encounter, so they will grow in their Joy! Growth in faith equals increasing in Joy, delight, gladness of heart, happiness, contented, confident in eternal realities as revealed from His Unchanging Word!

THINK- Do You have a specific PURPOSE you are seeking to Impart to other believers?

When you get together or communicate with them, is it that having heard from you, watched you, received from you as Paul refers to in Philippians 4:9, that they may learn and grow in their joy and faith? Growing in their dependence, devotion and delight in the LORD!

Most of us don’t THINK like this, we tend to drift along with no PURPOSE when it comes to others and often settle for chicken dinner as “fellowship” and miss out imparting into each others life that which will mutually encourage in the progress of Christian faith and increasing joy as they seek to live out their lives in the midst of resistance, and at time hostilities! BE INTENTIONAL in  your Living! 

For many of us we are taken up with “guidance,” and for many that means, where we do live, who we should live with, what we should work at, which school to go to etc, and we give great energy, at times anxiety over trying to figure out “the will of God.” While these are important, they are secondary in regards to what is more important than trying to “figure” out the “will of God” as though it is like some “maze,” that you walk into and have to figure out how to get out of it, never knowing how to! “But God…” would have us concentrate on the Truth He has revealed from His Word and that we be taken up primarily that, where we are, and who we are with, that we are seeking to fulfill what God would have us to be. At times we often place greater emphasis on trying to find out where we should be, rather than being who we should be to those whom we are with! It is important that we must ask Him to guide us into that which would please Him in these areas of location but don’t miss out on our vocation in serving others for His sake in the circumstances we PRESENTLY find ourselves in! His Word reveals to us what we should be concentrating on, as our vocation, in this case as with Paul that we would labor for to help other believers in their progress of  “Joy in the faith! “Progress” spoke of “Pioneers,” of “blazing a trail,” leading the way. The word was also used of “wood choppers’ who would go ahead of an army and remove any obstacles, hindrances, from the road way that would cause the army that was coming behind to slow down! The word spoke of difficulties, obstacles, hindrances. And Paul was committed to their “progress  and Joy in the faith.” Their “advancing,” going forward, developing in their “joy,” their gladness, delight of heart that will happen as they grow in their faith.

How wonderful, here is a man in prison, and his OUTLOOK is to LOOKOUT for the welfare of others, He is concerned about their JOY! Their gladness, delight  of heart! And growth in their faith! When faith grows, Joy grows! As your faith so will your joy be!

As your Faith Grows so Your Joy Increases!

Paul said and I love the words, “Remain and Continue,” which means to wait beside a person ever ready to help. He was looking out for…OTHERS… just like His LORD… reflecting His heart…So, as long as you “Remain And Continue” living,  in whatever circumstances you find yourself in , let your OUTLOOK be to LOOKOUT for the welfare of others,  investing your life in others, for “Jesus sake”-{ Read 2 Cor 4:5}… for their “PROGRESS of JOY in the FAITH!”

 Be deliberate in what your purpose is –  I AM HERE FOR YOUR..,JOY…{I AM COMMITTED TO YOUR…JOY!}..in the Faith! 

Whose Joy are you committed to and how do you show it

How are you coming alongside others to strengthen them in their faith and seeking to increase their reasons for delighting in the LORD?

Paul  knew God’s purpose was that he be spiritually fruitful as it is God’s will for you and me to be likewise, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”-{John 15:16}…”Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”-{Romans 7:4}.

Saved to Serve, by investing your life purposely in others lives and in this passage in Philippians 1 for their “JOY in the Faith!”

Too often we can grow discouraged, or believe we are too old now, and past our usefulness, our days are mostly behind us and we sit back and slowly die of regret, embracing lies when in reality as long as we are here we have purpose to invest our lives, by preferring others and committed to their “progress in the Joy of the Faith!”…Your attitude ? It’s like falling off a bike, you can lay there and regret the fall or you can get back up and cycle on! Don’t believe the lies such as “you don’t know enough to share!” Here’s a good principle, Share what you know and keep exposing yourself to His Word so you can grow and share! Or what about this lie, “God can’t use you, no one will listen to you!” Oh yes He can and will. he will give you someone to pray for, share with, invest in, and they might just be in your… home… school..,work, hospice,… wherever you are, He is with you as He is In you and desiring the souls of others and the spiritual growth of others. You are not past your “sell by date”as though you were an old carton of milk, that had turned sour! I heard of a lady in her nineties who was in a nursing home who daily read her Bible and other occupants and staff came to listen to her.  For them it may have been a “novelty,” for others a “life line” but she was doing what she could and sharing His Word, and those who know Him were being spiritually nourished, according to 1 Peter 2:2!  You are breathing? Then don’t fall into the lie of you have sinned so much, failed so bad, are not articulate enough to be used by God. For those “lies” have you focus inward and not to Him and Others! It’s a trap, to stop, divert you from this wonderful opportunity you have in representing the LORD Jesus, co-laboring with Him, in the spiritual good of others!  Samson had sinned and failed , but God gave him opportunity to honor Him in his circumstances.

Paul in prison  said , “brothers and sisters I want you to know my circumstances have worked out to further the Gospel,“-{Phil 1:12}. And He did invest in the lives of the Philippians! How? He communicated by WRITING to them, Telling them SPECIFICALLY of how he was praying for them, and reports how the Gospel is going forth, how they should deal with the conflict among two women in the congregation, how the believers are speaking THE WORD of God, boldly and without fear, and he reports on Epahroditus who nearly died in his service to Paul, my point being, here was a man confined in prison, but he was not “shut down,” he was still reaching out, he was investing in others. People could look at his circumstances, and conclude, he was “shut down,” what could he do there? Well, he writes to them and gives and update how those very circumstances were opportunities to advance the Gospel and encourage God’s people, and do you know what?… generations of people have been encouraged through the Book of Philippians that has been called “the Book of Joy” due to the number of times, “joy” and “rejoicing” in the four chapters! You too  from your circumstances can communicate even through writing, be it a letter, email, text, etc… with people you may be separated from physically… there are opportunities in our circumstances, to invest in the lives of believers for their “Joy in the faith!”

So, don’t believe the many “lies” that you cannot be used…You are useful and you can begin afresh!  And asking Him to use you and adopting this attitude -“I Am Alongside You, Ever Ready To Help you  Progress, Advance In Your JOY in The Faith!” And Know God wants you to be fruitful, and fruitful you will be! Don’t give up, dig in and spend your life investing in others…

Desiring To Go, But Willing To Stay- was Paul’s attitude and while he remained he had a purpose- “…for your progress and joy in the faith, “… and to be Fruitful according to God’s will for his life… and yours … and mine… As long as you are breathing you have PURPOSE from God who desires you be Fruitful in your living for Him and …Others!