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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS

Paul’s Chains and he still has joy


12Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. 15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.16The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

1: 12-14   Being imprisoned would cause many people to become bitter or to give up, but Paul saw it as one more opportunity to spread the Good News of Christ. Paul realized that his current circumstances weren’t as important as what he did with them. Turning his bad situation into a good one, he reached out to the Roman soldiers who made up the palace guard and encouraged Christians who were afraid of persecution. We may not be in prison, but we still have plenty of opportunities to be discouraged— times of indecision, financial burdens, family conflict, church conflict, or the loss of our jobs. How we act in such situations will reflect what we believe. Like Paul, look for ways to demonstrate your faith even in bad situations, when your emotional reserves are almost depleted. Whether or not the situation improves, your faith will grow stronger.

1: 14   We don’t know what special gifts Paul had in prison, but we do know that he used every opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus. When we speak out for Christ or live faithfully for him during difficult situations, we encourage others to do the same. Be an encouragement to others by the way you live.

1: 15-18   Paul had an amazingly selfless attitude. He knew that some were preaching to build their own reputations, taking advantage of Paul’s imprisonment to try to make a name for themselves. Regardless of the motives of these preachers, Paul rejoiced that the gospel was being preached. Some Christians serve for the wrong reasons. Paul wouldn’t condone— nor does God excuse— their motives, but we should be glad if God uses their message regardless of their motives.

1: 16-19   Paul could have become depressed, discouraged, or disillusioned. He could have wallowed in self-pity and despair. Instead, he regarded his imprisonment as being appointed by God. In fact, God had used Paul’s imprisonment in Rome to bring the gospel to the center of the empire, as well as to give Paul time to write letters that would one day end up in the New Testament and give us much teaching and encouragement. The prayers of the Philippians and the Holy Spirit helped Paul see his difficulties through new eyes. Do you have difficulty accepting your station in life? Do you resent where God has placed you? Although education and effort may enable us to take a new role or find a new job, often God puts us in a certain place because that’s exactly where he wants us to serve. Whether it is an actual prison or a place that feels like one, God wants you to serve him faithfully and joyfully exactly where you are until it is time to move on to your next assignment of service.Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible

ON THE WAY HOME WALK WITH JESUS and KNOW that no matter where you are God has put you there for a reason. Whether we want to be there or not use that place and time to let people see and know the joy that only JESUS CHRIST can give by seeing your actions, words and attitudes!! by RICHARD DEAN BROOKS

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