Progress and Joy
Read Philippians 1:25-26 (ESV)
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
Why was Paul convinced that he would continue his work with the Philippians?
Paul said, “to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He had been explaining how he longs to be with Christ (Philippians 1:22-23). And yet, he knows that God still has a purpose for him. There is still fruitful labor for him to complete. Specifically, the Philippians still needed him.
In today’s verses, Paul says that he will stay “for your progress and joy in the faith.” Since his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul dedicated his life to building Christ’s church. He traveled far and wide planting churches. But everyone knows that when you plant something, you have to tend it. A garden doesn’t just sprout up overnight. It is a process.
The churches that Paul planted needed to be tended and cared for. The young believers needed their faith fed and watered. They needed the weeds of false doctrine to be yanked out at the roots. Paul knew that this was his calling—to remain with them so that their faith could grow and thrive.
Paul knew that as their faith progressed and increased, their joy would also abound. And yet, Paul says to “glory in Christ Jesus.” Paul wanted to make sure that the Philippians understood that his work was Christ working through him. Paul did not do anything for them by his own strength or ability. While Paul served faithfully and obediently, Paul knew that only Jesus could make their faith grow.
And friends, that’s still true. Only Jesus can make our faith grow. But it is our job to faithfully tend our own faith and the seeds of faith that we have planted in others. We need to feed and water it with the Word of God and prayer. We need to yank out the weeds of anything that seeks to strangle our growth. As your faith grows and progresses, you can be sure of one thing. Your joy is bound to increase as well.
Lord, please increase my faith. I want to know You more and more. The more I know you, the deeper my joy! Help me to tend the seeds of faith that have been planted in others around me so that through You, I can help their faith grow and progress. Amen.