You are the “beloved.”
Today’s Text: “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” (Philippians 4:1, ESV)
If you are a man travelling to my home state of North Carolina, don’t be surprised if a woman who is a complete stranger calls you “sweetie.”
In an article in Our State magazine a few years ago, author Jeremy Jones took a comical look at how “we pour syrup upon strangers and friends alike. Anyone you pass might be a peach or a muffin.”
So, if you are from the North or the Midwest, you need to understand this – if the server at the restaurant calls you “sweetie pie,” it doesn’t mean that she wants to marry you – she’s just being nice.
If you are in a coffee shop or diner in the South, you might be “honey,” “pumpkin,” “sweetie,” or “pudding pie,” but if you were a Christian in the first century receiving one of the Apostle Paul’s letters you would have been called “beloved.”
The old King James renders a more literal reading of Philippians 4:1: “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
Literally, the verse says: “Therefore, my brothers, beloved ones, longed for ones, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, beloved.”
Brothers. Beloved. Longed for. Joy. Crown. Beloved.
That’s who you are. You are the “agapetos.” Its root word is the famous Greek concept of divine love – agape. Love without strings. Ultimate love.
The fact that you are beloved is the truest, deepest definition of your life. You are one who is loved by God. Every other description of your identity pales in comparison. There is no higher, greater or far reaching reality about who you are.
You are God’s beloved. And that’s the Gospel!