Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:12-18
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)
The things that happened to Paul were very different from the things Paul had planned for himself. He was the great missionary to the Gentiles. He had planned to carry the gospel to the west as far as Spain. But those plans were not fulfilled. Instead, Paul found himself a prisoner on trial for his life.
Paul easily could have been frustrated and perhaps even bitter, but he was neither. He saw things from God’s perspective. God changed Paul’s plans to bring them in conformity with His plan. Paul knew in his heart that God was in control, and that he could trust Him no matter what. Paul believed in God’s providence and care. He knew that God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Therefore, Paul wrote — “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Then he proceeds to tell us what was happening as a result of his imprisonment. He had been given the opportunity to witness to the imperial guard of Rome (v. 13). The gospel now spread all the way to the guards who protected the Emperor of Rome. Through his imprisonment, believers became more courageous to speak the word of God without fear (v. 14). And even those preachers who were preaching from wrong motives were effectively communicating the gospel (vs. 15-18). And what was Paul’s response” “And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice” (v. 18).
God does not always change our difficult circumstances, but He does give us grace to handle them (II Corinthians 12:9,10). We know that God is sovereign and He will cause even the difficult circumstances we face to work our for our good and for His glory (Romans 8:28). When facing times of difficulty, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the circumstances. Then we will gain God’s perspective and know that God is bringing all things in conformity with His plans and purpose.
“In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works ALL THINGS according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
O Sovereign Lord Jesus, I know that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to You. You are my sovereign King and the Lord of my life. You cause all things to work together for my good, even the difficult things I have to face. I look to You for the strength to endure and for the wisdom to see things from Your perspective.
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