For the past couple of months, I have been memorizing Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Now, I admit, the memorization process has been rather slow…however it has been so rewarding! One passage that has really impressed me is Paul’s prayer for the Philippians.
In his opening statement to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul makes this statement:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy…“
Let’s hone in on what Paul is saying here. The word “making” is the greek word “poieo.” Though seemingly insignificant, this little word is the key to understanding what Paul is trying to convey to the Philippian church.
“Poieo” is commonly translated into the English words, make, do, work, produce…etc. It carries the idea of someone or something producing something from their inner being. A great example of this is an apple tree. When an apple tree “produces” or “poieo’s” an apple, we are not alarmed or impressed in any way because apple trees ALWAYS produce apples. However, if an apple tree started bearing oranges, we would certainly take notice. In fact, we would begin to question whether or not the said “apple tree” was really an apple tree. The hanging oranges would testify against the “apple tree” and prove that the “apple tree” is actually an ORANGE TREE…the fruit of the tree must correlate with the innate nature of the tree.
The same can be said for us. Jesus tells us that from the abundance of our hearts we speak and act and therefore display the substance of our inner lives (Matt. 12:33-37.) Whether we like it or not, the true substance of our hearts will be displayed through our words and actions.
This is true for Paul. He tells the Philippians that he “makes his prayer with joy” when he prays for them. Knowing what we know of the word “poieo,” we can see that Paul is actually overflowing with joy when he prays for the Philippians. He is not working up joy or following a 5-step process to attain joy. He is simply revealing the true substance of his heart; joy.
Is this not the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus dwelling in Paul? (read Galatians 5:16-24) Oh, what freedom is his! Though he formally walked in the rigorous ways of devout Judaism, Paul now walks in the freedom of the Spirit of God. Being full of Jesus, Paul now overflows with the inner substance of Christ.
What would it look like if you were so intimate and in-step with Jesus, that the fruit of your life was the fruit of the life of Christ? Would your prayer life reflect that of the Apostle Paul’s? Full of joy and abounding with love for your brothers and sisters, would your prayer life move to a whole new level?
Let’s drop every weight and take on His yoke, learn from Him, and be trees that bear His fruit. It will be our greatest joy.
Yours in Jesus,