Thoughts on Philippians 1
How do you know if you are living a life that is a blessing to others? Ask yourself, “Do people thank God and are filled with joy, when they think about me?”
And what will make people thank God, whatever their circumstance? The Gospel!
And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Philippians 1:14 ESV)
How did Paul’s imprisonment bring about confidence in the disciples? Because they saw that even imprisonment has a greater purpose – yes, that God allowed it – for the advancement of the Gospel. Paul’s momentary trials resulted in more people hearing about the Good News of God’s love through Jesus, restoring them back to God. One person in a temporal earthly prison in exchange for a multitude of people set free from an eternal prison.
But not everyone who was proclaiming Christ in the early Church was doing so with good motives. Sadly that has continued even 2000 years later. Human nature, we struggle against envy, pride and selfish ambition. Paul’s attitude? “They think this will make me jealous or envious? Not really, I’m glad that they are spreading the Good News!”
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me… to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, (Philippians 1:21-22a, 24-25 ESV)
When it comes to the life, and earthly death, of a true follower of Christ, there are no accidents. When God says it is time to go, it is time to go. Until then we have our marching orders, we have our purposes to fulfill.
It won’t be easy – there will be trouble from the outside, and trouble within. We need to stand firm and be united in God’s Spirit.
To know Him and to make Him known.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 ESV)