Paul is confident that there are things left for him to do with regard to the Philippians. Even though he’s in prison and in danger of death, he seems to know that this isn’t the time God will take him home. He knows there’s 30 joy1more to do. He sees the situation in Philippi much like the Mayaguez incident I mentioned yesterday. To the extent that he says in Philippians 1:25, “And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.” He knows that if God’s leaves him here on earth, there must be a reason. God always has a purpose for our lives. He never wastes a pain or a problem. Each and every event in our lives will work out for good. That’s His promise to us. It may not look good. It may not feel good, but God will make it all interweave together and result in good. Paul’s confidence set the orientation of his life. Robison writes, “Confidence serves our orientation to life. Confidence that God has a need for us places boundaries around what we do; it gives meaning to our existence.’

If anyone understood that and believed it to the bottom of his very being it was Paul. He had significant contributions to make yet in the lives of the Philippians. There were two of them specifically mentioned in this verse. The first was for their progress. He had earlier mentioned that he was certain that God would complete all that He had begun in the lives of the new believers in Philippi (See 1:6). Now he suggests that God still wants to use him in accomplishing some of that progress. He had also prayed for the Philippians. He asked God to make their love for one another “over flow more and more” so that they would be able to discern the best things in life and therefore make the right choices.

The second thing was for their joy! As they grow into a mature faith joy will naturally escalate. As Paul uses the term “joy” means something like “to be animated about something you believe in. This is a word of enthusiasm.” It’s been my experience that no matter where I’ve been in the world, I’ve always bragged about the Nebraska football team. I don’t do that so much anymore, but that’s been a recent development in my life. For 40 years, from 1970 to 2010 (most of my life!), and with shipmates from every state in the union, I’ve had excitement and enthusiasm about NU Football. I’d watch the games, sometimes live, and jump and scream and holler about various plays and of course at all the victories. There was great joy in Nebraska about a great coach and a great team and I was always very vocal about it. Paul talks about “being animated” for our faith instead of football. Richison again says, “Christians who are animated about their faith can be very expressive. They love to talk about their favorite subject. Some people are dull until you talk hockey (or football) and then they come alive.” He concludes that our purpose in life for as long as were on the earth is “…to be animated about both the maturity and joy of the faith of others.”