The closeness of Jesus

Everything in the Christian life revolves around proximity to Jesus Christ. Sunday past I was reflecting on Philippians 4:4-7, and how Paul’s repeated reason is the closeness of the Lord.

V4 – Rejoice in the Lord – the Christian’s delight reaches its highest when the Lordship of Christ is clearly seen in relation to whatever brings us joy. A beautiful landscape might bring someone joy, but add Christ to that – the creator and sustainer of the universe, and that joy becomes enhanced, an act of worship as we see creation itself pouring out glory to our king.

V5 – Let your reasonableness be known to everyone (for the Lord is at hand) – how we live as we wait for the glorious appearing of Jesus is driven by the proximity of Christ. Hold him at arm’s length, and the effects of sanctification will be minimal. Paul’s desire was that believers reflect the character of Jesus, and that comes about through the Spirit of Jesus at work within us.

V6 – Don’t be anxious, pray – Paul’s language here expresses our approach to a sovereign of unimaginable power. But the way we approach that power is through Jesus Christ, in whom we find our only right of access to the thrown of Abba.

V7 – You will be guarded in Christ Jesus – the Bible is replete with references to the way God watches over his people, and generally that protection comes through closeness – e.g. Psalms 17, 36 or 57 – where the place of safety is under the shadow of his wing. The safest place for the Christian is close to Christ; our best armour his righteousness imputed to us, and worn not loosely, but strapped on tight.

I was wondering about two things in Paul’s line of thought in concluding his letter to the Philippians:

1) How does the closeness of Jesus impact on our Christian unity (v2-3)?

2) How does our desire for purity impact on our closeness to Christ (v8-9)?