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  • Writer's picturePastor Jim Stultz

Progress and Joy

            I love to see things grow.  But I don’t have a green thumb.  One time my wife and I planted a 3-foot stick from a plumeria tree.  Someone told us that it would grow into a tree if we just put it in the ground.  Skeptically, I began to watch for signs of life.  We were so amazed when it sprouted roots and leaves.  Day by day we watered it and watched it continue to grow.  Several years later it is now a 20-foot tree with a multitude of pink blossoms.  What a joy it is to see its continued progress.

            Paul in writing to the Philippian Christians had invested his life in the faith of the believers in that church.  He was in prison and didn’t know if he would live or die.  He rejoiced at the prospect of departing this world and meeting his Savior.  He looked at that possibility as being in a “far better” place with a “far better:” person.  Yet he knew he had much more work to do for the Lord.  One of the things that he lived for was pouring himself into the lives of the followers of Jesus.  He was delighted whenever he saw them growing stronger in the Lord.  He told the Philippians in Phil 1:23-25: “For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith”.  Paul was delighted when he saw progress and joy in the lives of those believers.

            I wonder if there is any progress and joy in our faith.  Are we growing in the Lord?  Do we have a greater delight in studying the Bible?  Are we becoming better able to resist temptation?  Do we find ourselves enjoying those special times in prayer?  Does joy in our Lord crowd out the darkness and discouragements that life throws at us? 

            You may not have a green thumb either.  But I believe that God loves to see His planted sticks blossom.  Our progress and joy delight His heart.

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