For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:8)
If you aren't well versed in Biblical idioms, the phrase, bowels of Jesus Christ could seem strange. When the Bible refers to bowels, it has nothing to do with your stomach. The word bowels was commonly used to refer to a deeply held emotional connection. Today we would use the word heart. When people say that they hold another individual “within their heart," they are not referring to the organ that is pumping blood through the body; they are referring to the depth of their emotional connection. In Philippians 1:8, Paul was expressing his deep affection for the churches in Philippi.
Does that mean Paul never had any issue with the Philippian church? No.
I can tell you that the more time you spend with people, the more possibility there is for us to get on each other’s nerves. How, then, can we have such a deep longing and love for each other? The answer is by putting work to our faith and spending time and effort praying for one another. Remember, faith without works is dead, being alone. (James 2:17)
It doesn’t matter what someone has done, what his nationality is, what her background is, or even who their daddy or mama is - if you pray for them and do so fervently, God will put them in your heart with the compassion He has for them.
You may say, “But what if they have done something wrong?” Scripture also tells us to pray for those who despitefully use us. In other words, we are to pray for those who plotted and planned to do us wrong. We are called to become more like Jesus daily, and our prayer life should look more like His as well.
Practical Application – Who do you complain about the most? Spend some time praying sincerely and fervently for God’s mercy on them and for their eyes to be opened. Ask God to help you develop a heart like His through your prayers.
Romans 12:10; 2 Corinthians 7:15