For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:8
What an incredible love Paul had for the saints.
Paul didn’t simply tolerate them. He didn’t simply put up with them. They weren’t another task on his to-do list. They weren’t one Christian obligation among many other duties.
He yearned for them. Had a deep love for them. Had affection for them. He was ablaze with Christ’s love for ALL. Not just for some, but for all.
He had love for young and old, weak and strong, the faint hearted, the slow to change. Those who were hard to love. Those who weren’t like him. Those who struggled with unbelief. Those who needed lots of encouragement. Those who were lazy. Paul yearned for them all. Paul had affection for them all.
Paul yearned for them all. Paul had affection for them all. There was no discretion in Paul’s affection. No filter. He didn’t selectively disburse his affection to those whom he preferred.
He loved freely.
But Paul’s burning love for the Philippians was not his own. It was not something he whipped up in himself. Not something he convinced himself to do by repeating a mantra.
It was “the affection of Christ Jesus.”
It was Christ’s own love for his blood-bought saints that Jesus had poured into the heart of Paul. Paul didn’t say I yearn for you all with affection LIKE Christ Jesus. He wasn’t trying to copy Christ’s affection. It WAS Christ’s affection. It was supernatural. It came from outside Paul. It came from Jesus himself.
This burning love is available to every believer. It wasn’t just for Paul. This verse is in the Bible to inspire and provoke us to ask Jesus for his own affection for the saints.
I believe Jesus is waiting to drench us with this love. So let’s ask him, “Jesus, please give me your own affection for the saints. Give me your burning love for every one.”