For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.
1:12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,
With this verse we listen in on the apostle Paul’s interpretation of the trials he has entered into, through his travels and the current imprisonment he was experiencing. It is important to understand that Paul wants to encourage his friends with progress in the midst of trials, and not simply for the sake of his friends, but to see through the eyes of Jesus, what is actually happening for the sake of the gospel.
Paul is not going to dwell on his personal sufferings, other than to inform his friends that he is in prison. He does not describe the condition of the prison, the lack of food or clothing, the loneliness or any other aspect that he may be experiencing, since this is not the focus of his message.
Paul is so focused on advancing the gospel, that he does not accept his current condition as a set back, but actually understands the benefit of his imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.
His imprisonment is advancing the gospel.
How crazy is that? How upside down is the kingdom of God in comparison to our modern way of thinking. It is too much for me at times.
In your own life, has there been a set back? A seeming defeat? Consider a refocus.
Years back, a brother spoke of the reason the Dead sea is dead. You see, the dead sea receives water from the Jordan, but has no natural outlet and is unable to provide water to any other body of water. There is no outlet from the dead sea, other than by evaporation, which causes all the salts carried by the Jordan to remain in the Dead Sea, making it useless for life.
Life requires expression, an outlet to give to others in order to maintain, even expand our life. Receiving, or focusing only on ourselves, is a great way to die!
Paul looked for an outlet in his circumstances. May we also take on this attitude, and find life in the giving.
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