Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:12-14
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)
Paul was in prison. He could have easily been discouraged, disappointed, and even bitter. He had been faithfully preaching the gospel and yet he ended up in prison. But Paul knew that God had a sovereign plan for his life. Paul looked beyond the circumstances he was facing and instead focused on the Lord. He knew that God causes all things to work out together for our good (Romans 8:28). He began to see from God’s perspective — “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”
Paul’s imprisonment opened a door for Paul to minister to soldiers of the Praetorian Guard — “So that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ” (v. 13). Paul was able to witness to some of the elite soldiers of Rome. He would have never had such an opportunity as this if he had not been put into prison.
Paul’s imprisonment was also an encouragement to his fellow believers — “And most of the brothers, having been confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (v. 14). Believers saw how Paul trusted Christ and was bold to continue proclaiming the Word, even in prison. His example gave them confidence and boldness.
When we face difficulties and disappointing circumstances in our lives, remember that God has a sovereign plan and that He works all things together for our good. Look beyond the circumstances and look up to the One who sovereignly controls all things. God may be using your difficulties and disappointments to advance the gospel.
Sovereign Lord, You have shown me over and over again across the years of my life that You are a faithful and good God. I have seen Your hand at work through the difficult and disappointing times in my life. I know that You have a sovereign plan for me and that You will bring it to completion. Keep me from discouragement. Let me look beyond the difficult circumstances I am facing and let me see You and Your glory.
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