I was struck by verse 20 in today's reading, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."
The thought of "sufficient courage" intrigued me. Here was Paul, arrested and in prison for preaching the gospel of Christ, yet he was hoping to have sufficient courage to continue exalting Christ.
Over the labor day weekend, my family and I went to the Delaware beach. My 10 year old son is an excellent swimmer and like most 10 year old boys has the fearlessness of youth. As soon as we got to the beach he went running to the waters edge and ran out to about knee depth.
"Dad come in with me"
"No, go on in - I'll come in later"
"Come on Dad. Come in with me now"
As soon as I joined him, we were out in the deep water - body surfing in the waves and having a great time. By just coming along side, I was providing him encouragement and support - giving him the confidence and assurance to do the things he already knew how to do.
This is the message that I heard from Paul in today's reading. The prayers and support of the believers in Philippi were a source of strength and encouragement to Paul. They with the Holy Spirit were keeping him strong in his faith and commitment in the midst of a very difficult and trying circumstance.
How can we apply this?
If you find yourself in a situation where you need someone along side - call out.
If you find yourself being called on by someone in need - come along side.