“12And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.”/Philippians 1:12-14
These verses highlight Paul’s current situation, chained up in prison for being a Christian. What’s bigger than Paul’s circumstances is his attitude and perspective in the midst of being chained up as a prisoner. Paul starts off by saying that his situation in jail hasn’t held up his purpose, (spreading the Good News) or hurt it, but it’s HELPED!! What?!?
I had an example in my life today that helped me better understand how something bad or going through tough circumstances can be used for God’s glory. I was doing school yesterday, in my usual position, head down going to work. I guess I had been in that position too long because when I leaned up it’s like something bit me almost. I strained a muscle in the back of my neck, I started trying to stretch it out and turn my head but that strain wouldn’t allow me to. I tried all day to keep turning it, stretching out but it ended up getting worse. After a long day at work I woke up this morning in a struggle to get my head off the pillow. It was so sore! I had to work a 10 hour shift today so I started thinking, “I can’t go to work, I’m hurt too bad.” All I wanted to do was complain and give up. Then I got to looking at Paul’s example and thought, “how can I type this message about enduring suffering, being joyful in my struggle if I choose to give up.” So I grabbed my grandmas heating pad, warmed that sucker up and went to work. All day I had that reminder in my head that if I just keep pushing, make it through the day then maybe somehow it will help my purpose (the spread of the Good News.) This passage became real life for me, I wasn’t suffering anywhere near Paul but my neck had me chained up. I felt restricted because I couldn’t move as easily as usual. Looking at verse 29 it started making sense,
“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”/ Philippians 1:29
Of course it’s a privilege to trust in Christ right but a privilege to suffer for Him? I saw my neck problem as something that was going to hinder my life and how could I live out my purpose in Christ with a bad neck? In this, I learned that suffering doesn’t hold you back from your purpose of living for the Good News, suffering enhances it. Giving up, calling out of work in my case, how could I live out my purpose for Christ if I was in bed at home laying around like a baby? Our purpose is to love others, serve others in that love and be an example of just how GOOD the Good News is. To do that sometimes it may be painful, it may not align with our wants but isn’t our purpose to live for the Good News so much bigger than our wants and comfort? It’s easy to see that complaining and laying down wasn’t something Paul did even though in our eyes he had every reason to. Acting like a victim doesn’t align with our purpose given to us where Christ has called us VICTORS through Him. People need to see this victory so they’ll know that there is victory in Christ and what He has done, there is another way out from living in the pain and sorrow this world offers, it’s in the Good News!!!
It’s easier to understand Paul being so hunky dory about being in prison now. Because his purpose was aligned in Christ, because his purpose was a top priority and his one main focus was in the Good News, his perspective and attitude showed that. It’s like the worse Paul’s circumstances got it seemed like the more excited he was because that was a chance to really show others the good news by his example. When people see you joyful while in chains, loving and serving just the same no matter what happens, people are like what?? How could that be? Thats not the norm of this world, they are different than anything I’ve seen in this world. That’s because we aren’t of this world, we are followers of Christ, we are children of God and citizens of Heaven! Someone sees your example and asks themselves, “could this good news they are always talking about really be that good? Oh yes!
Not only can you show the Good news and impact people who don’t know Christ, Paul says that believers surrounding him in his struggle were gaining confidence and speaking with more boldness because of it. They were seeing Paul so grounded in His purpose and His out of this world perspective on life, they were seeing that nothing can hurt them, they became fearless in knowing this truth! All because Paul was so daggum set in His purpose living in the fact that the only thing that matters is the Good News getting out. At whatever cost that’s all it’s about.
Aligned and focused on his purpose as a follower of Christ, Paul’s attitude and perspective fell right into place. Our purpose isn’t to complain, feel bad for ourselves, or give up. Our purpose is in the Gospel, as victors, our purpose is to love and serve, continue being joyful and praising God despite the chains we are in because God’s love and the chance for someone else to experience His awesome love is SO much BIGGER than any chain that this world can place on us. The world desperately needs the Good News, don’t let your chains or pain hold you back from living it in front of them! Christ endured the cross and the pain that came with it to give us freedom and victory, a life eternally and abundantly with Him. He set the ultimate example of purpose, it’s our purpose to follow His example and live in it for God’s glory and so people can see that this Good News is really so so GOOD!!!