“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Philippians 1:12-14.
I wonder how many of us can say these things about our own lives…
Have I allowed the “bad” things that happen to me to advance the gospel?
Have I shined the light of Jesus even in my darkest moments?
Do I feel my “chains” are for Christ or that they are ruining my life?
Do I encourage others through my hardships?
Do my words cause others to want to speak the Word of God with more courage?
It is my prayer and hope that we can all answer “yes” to most of these questions without wavering. It is my hope that when I struggle, I don’t wallow in self pity and complaining, but that I point others to the ultimate sacrifice made for me in Jesus Christ. May it be so, Lord.
This passage in Philippians also reminds me of the book,The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. He spent many, many years imprisoned for his faith. Like Paul, he pointed others to Christ through his persecution many, many times. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!