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Week 27 – The Affection of Christ

“God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ.” – 1:8b

Have you ever cared so much for someone that you thought of them all the time when you were apart? What would be the nature of a relationship characterized by such a longing?

As we looked at the opening verses of chapter one we heard these things about the Philippians:

1. They have been partners in the Gospel

2. That partnership has been from the very beginning of their relationship

3. A good work has begun in them

4. It is a work that God intends to bring to completion.

5. The Philippians have shared in God’s grace with Paul

6. He thinks of them in every situation

What does Paul mean here by affection, particularly the affection of Christ? The NIV Study Bible describes it quite well. “The deep yearning and intense compassionate love exhibited by Jesus himself and now fostered in Paul by his union with Christ. This affection reaches out to all impartially and without exception.”

This is what we aspire to-to be so transformed by God’s love that we love people in the same way Christ has loved us.

What are your thoughts on these observations?


4 Responses to “Week 27 – The Affection of Christ”

  1. This is a tough challenge! Many people’s 1st reaction (at least mine, but I am getting better!) is some people do not deserve to be loved…but when I think of Jesus, laid down on His back on the cross on that “Good” Friday, He looked up into the man’s eyes, forgave him and loved him, just as the man slammed the hammer down on top of the spike driving it through Jesus’ flesh, muscles and cartilage. The pain was searing yet when the man moved to Jesus other side to do the same on His other hand, Jesus still looked at him with love, compassion and forgiveness.

    There is always a deeper motive when someone lashes out – the surface reaction is just a cover-up for something they desire or are hurting from – – and most of the time what they need is a little Christ like love, not a stern face or caustic word. Give them a smile, give them a kind word and say a little prayer for them and see what amazing things God will do through you and through them.

    Paul had many people, who did some nasty things to him, yet he sang, prayed, forgave and loved them…and God used him in a powerful way!

  2. One thing that I think keeps us from loving all others is our own impatience. I have seen people reach out to those who hurt them, showing gracious love and kindness. They make a wonderful gesture, but if the person does not respond after 1 or 2 tries, they give up. It is hard to continuously love someone who repeatedly responds to your love with bitterness or hate.
    But true love is patient, just as God is patient with us. He is waiting for all to come to Him, and He never rushes us, but continues to love unconditionally. As a counselor, I did see some children demonstrate this kind of love. A few have been able to continue to show love to someone who bullied or mistreated them. In the long run, many of the “haters” grew to trust and love these children back after a long time. A person who is bitter and hateful is often that way because they have learned from experience that love is not real or lasting. It will take time and true effort to change that belief. When someone does make the effort to continually love such a person, the result is often amazing! Such a love has the power to transform a bitter, hateful person into someone who will love more powerfully and with more commitment than most of us can imagine.

  3. Often I find myself struggling to love someone. Then my prayer becomes, “Lord, help me to see people as Jesus sees them.” It’s a prayer that as it is answered my compassion arises.

  4. This was the point of our Sunday School lesson this week. David sparing Saul’s life even though Saul continuously hunted him. Doing good to those who hurt you. It was interesting to see how the children reacted. They all admitted to wanting revenge at times, but they didn’t want to be that way. I am eager to see how they apply this lesson.

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