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A friend challenged me recently on whether I am more focused on my own fulfilment/happiness and getting my own needs met than I am on meeting the needs of others.

It’s one of those provocations that has rumbled around ever since, and cropped up again in my Bible reading today.

Verse 21 is very familiar to me, but if you’d asked, I’d have said that the question was just left hanging – an unsolvable dilemma which Paul ultimately left in the hands of God. I’d never taken in these next verses.

Paul came to the realisation that though death would be preferable to him, that wouldn’t best serve the needs of those in the Philippian church. He chose to go on living for their sakes – and didn’t do it begrudgingly, but with great joy.

It was his joy to surrender his own will and serve them. What a challenge!