“And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.”
Here is the reason God had Paul upon earth. Paul had no mere desire to dangle around on the frayed edges of existence. It is not enough just to live a long time. Purpose gives life meaning and definition.
The Philippians needed him more than he needed to go to heaven at this time in his life.
“and being confident of this,”
Paul was confident of his upcoming acquittal. Confidence serves our orientation to life. Confidence that God has a need for us places boundaries around what we do; it gives meaning to our existence.
“I know that I shall remain and continue with you all”
He was going to continue to live. The Roman authorities would not put him to death; he would be delivered from prison.
“for your progress”
“Progress” means to go forward, advance. It is the same word used in 1 Timothy 4:15: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” We need to develop towards maturity in our faith. This is the “progress of faith.” Some believers are baby Christians. A baby’s mind and body have not developed yet. A new or static believer remains at a low level of development. Others are adolescent believers. They are half child, half adult. They have not reached a point of independence. They still need their parents but they are resentful toward the authority of their parents. The adult or mature believer is a Christian who does not depend on others to appropriate the principles of the Word to his experience. He does have interdependence with others, however.
“and joy of faith”
As faith progresses, joy escalates. Many of us endure Christianity. There is little excitement anymore. We have lost our first love. We need revival. We need to be awakened. “Joy” means to be animated about something you believe in. This is a word of enthusiasm. When we brag about self, that is boasting in the unbiblical sense. But enthusiasm about the Lord Jesus and what He did on the cross is the point here. Christians who are animated about their faith can be very expressive. They love to talk about their favorite subject. Some people are dull until you talk hockey and then they come alive.
One purpose for our existence upon earth is to be animated about both the maturity and joy of the faith of others.
What are you doing to advance the faith of others?