Have you ever read the letter of Paul to the Philippians?
Just the start of it blows my mind. “Hey guys, this is Paul and Timothy here, bond-servants of Christ Jesus – the Messiah, the Anointed.” (Amplified Translation)
What’s a bondservant? The dictionary definition – ‘One bound to service without wages, a slave, a servant.’ The Greek translation of doulas – one who is subservient to, and entirely at the disposal of his master.
Because of what Jesus has done for us – our Saviour dying on the Cross and being the ransom for all of our sins – Paul, including Timothy, are describing themselves now. They have surrendered their lives and become servants to their Saviour.
Would I describe myself as a bondservant? Probably not. Too much of me in me. But in my most reflective moments, when I think of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me – He has given me freedom to live forever with total good. No wars, no fighting, no harm, no deceit, …I could go on – I cannot help but be grateful and want to give back to him what I have, all that I am.
Now Paul was a gung-ho dynamic leader in the Roman army. He seems like a person that puts his all into everything he does. He was travelling in the Roman Empire and persecuting Christians, for he thought it was the right thing to do. They were going against the Romans and he was peeved, more than peeved. He was a man who did something about it, not just all talk.
And then … Paul encountered Jesus Christ. Knocked off his pedestal, or the pedestal he had put the Roman Emperor on. It was his Mack truck experience (like being hit by one) and changed his life forever.
An encounter with the Lord does that. Every person who met Jesus in the New Testament were affected. He was and He is that powerful!
Even the Pharisees sensed this power. Why else did they not want to get rid of him? He was disrupting, questioning their systems and their authority.
It makes me reflect – am I that bowled over by my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ- an encounter with Him, the Saviour of the World to want to be his servant, bonded to him forever? I pray with the grace of God; my answer is yes.
And so, this encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ changed Paul from a Roman soldier with authority to a bondservant of Jesus. His choice. But this terminology goes to show you His changed heart. His changed attitude. He now was gung-ho for Christ!
Paul goes on with his letter. “To all the saints (Gods people) in Philippi, “What a beautiful honouring way to call them. Were they saints already or was Paul encouraging them to aim high? To aim at the goal of becoming a saint. Either way what a way to speak. Do we speak with such kind, inspiring words to people we know? We meet?
“Grace to you and peace (inner calm and spiritual well-being) from God Our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Amp.)
What a blessing, a prayer to start a letter.
Oh, the gift of grace. It means everything. It is undeserved. Freely given by the Father and Son. Dispensed by the Spirit.
And peace. I love the meaning in Greek of this word. Inner calm and spiritual well-being. Does that not describe it better than just peace?
I love reading different translations of the bible to try and get a better understanding of what was said. But the true revelation will come from the Holy Spirit. I’ve often asked Him to reveal to me more what I am reading. Not just brain knowledge but the heart and spirit of God in His Eternal Word. His Word has power that never depletes.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “for the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow – it goes deep – and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Oh, so powerful. Even if you don’t believe this, there are too many stories of people’s lives changed due to the Word of the Lord preached, proclaimed, read… St Ignatius of Loyola St Augustine, writer Evelyn Waugh, journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, Bill Hayden, Nicky Gumball (alpha course) and C.S. Lewis to name a few.
And so, as I reflect upon words that I am reading from the bible, may it be truly powerful and effective in my life. May it supernaturally do its work deep within me that I live a holier life for Christ. I do better in life because of what God does in me. May I be more grateful, thankful, full of peace. Have that inner calm and spiritual well-being that it describes from being a follower of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Oh, what depth there is in His Word. I have just read the first few lines of this letter and got so much out of it. I can’t wait to read more.