May 1, 2020 @ 8:00 AM
If you’re like me you want to know what those four phrases are so you can begin using them. If they’re that important you need to know them, right? As you might suspect, they are four phrases which come from the pages of the Bible. God uses them with us and wants us to use them with others. All four phrases are found in the first 11 verses of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Here they are:
1. “I Greet You”—Philippians 1:1, 2
Paul and his disciple, Timothy, greet the saints in the church at Philippi. Instead of “I greet you” we might say, “Hello!” or “Hi there!” Why is greeting others so important? Because everyone, regardless of age, race, or gender, wants to be acknowledged as a person. You know how it makes you feel when someone greets you, especially if they know your name. You feel like you matter; you’re significant. That’s so important!
2. “I Thank You”—Philippians 1:3-6
The Philippians had provided resources (money, prayer, companions, encouragement) to Paul on numerous occasions since he first planted the church on his second missionary journey. In fact, Paul thanks God for them every time he remembers them. They were a continual source of joy to him. Thanking others who have been kind to us is critical not simply because we want them to keep on being kind to us but because it is the right thing to do. Thanking others for their kindness and generosity is one of the most important things you can do. How can we best thank them? They need to hear our words and God needs to hear our prayers for them. Both are so important!
3. “I Love You”—Philippians 1:7, 8
As Paul puts it, “I have you in my heart” and “I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” Paul loves them. The Philippians are dear to him. He planted the church amidst much persecution. The Christians there treasured Paul and cared for him and Silas. No expression in the human language means as much to us as “I love you.” We long to have someone love us. It is the cry of our hearts to love and be loved. Think of how you feel when your spouse or a family member tells you they love you. It makes you feel cherished. That’s important!
4. “I Pray For You”—Philippians 1:9-11
Paul lets them know that he is praying for them. He prays for God to increase their love as they become more knowledgeable and discerning in their dealings with others. He prays for them to live lives of sincerity, excellence, and holiness. All of us need prayer! We need God’s help to navigate our way in this pilgrim life. When we promise to pray for someone, do we? We need to. Prayer is the most powerful force in all the universe. Prayer for one another is important!
Who needs to hear those four important phrases? Who can you bless with them this week?