“Approve Excellence” ( Philippians 1: 10, KJV ) by Carley Evans

Paul commends the church at Philippi to “approve things that are excellent.” (Philippians 1:10) He — with Timothy — encourages them to allow “love to abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” (Philippians 1:9) He wants them to “be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:10) He commands them, “be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:11)

Paul upholds excellence. Excellence comes to us through Jesus Christ. Excellence consists of: love, knowledge, discernment, sincerity, innocence and the fruits of righteousness which include peace, gentleness, loving-kindness, joy, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Paul sets the bar rather high. But he provides a means to this excellence to which God calls us. Paul writes, “They that are Christ’s crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)

“The Good Work” ( Philippians 1: 6, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Paul writes to the church at Philippi, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The good work, I believe, to which Paul refers is their partnership with him in grace. These brothers and sisters in Christ partner with Paul to establish and defend the gospel. And God “carries it on to completion.” God has not begun this good work to see it fail.

Paul exhorts, “Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel, not being frightened in any way.” (Philippians 1:27-28)

Paul calls them and us to stand together in “one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel” and to do so without fear. He reminds, “If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns?” (Romans 8:31-34)

“According To His Riches” ( Philippians 4: 19, NIV ) by Carley Evans

Paul proclaims that his God “will meet all [our] needs.” Paul is not referring specifically to spiritual needs in this portion of his letter to the church at Philippi. Instead, he is saying that his physical needs have been met by “the gifts [they] sent.” He writes, “They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18) Paul means to imply that just as his own needs have been met by the church of Philippi, so their needs will be met by God through others.

On the other hand, Paul verifies that he “has learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) He is able to be content because he “can do everything through Him who gives [him] strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Therefore, in this short passage, he is referring to his spiritual needs being met by God.

By implication, whether physical or spiritual, our needs are met by God “according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, says Paul, “rejoice in the Lord always. [He] says it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) He advises, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)