Monday, October 22, 2012

Difficult Times Refine Us for Better Proclamation

Scripture: Philippians 1:12-14
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

Insights: Paul did not view his imprisonment as a confinement, but rather as an opportunity for new advancement of the gospel.  Paul could have viewed his circumstance as this horribly wrong and unjust limiting of his personal freedoms.  Instead, however, he viewed his situation as God redeeming all of his events for His glory.  Four times a day Paul was given a new guard with which to be chained.  He had a captivated audience to share the love of Jesus.  Paul is in this particular prison because he appealed for his case to be taken before Caesar.  As a result he also had contact with officials in Caesar’s court.  If Paul had not been in this prison, he would have never had the opportunity to witness to these particular people.  He would never have had access to them.  God’s love for those guards and royal courtiers was so great He allowed Paul to go through this difficult time.  God was refining Paul and making him an even better evangelist for the sake of the gospel.  Paul’s imprisonment also encouraged other believers to spread the gospel more courageously and fearlessly.  What a testimony Paul had in the midst of this trying time in his life.  Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary on Philippians the secret to such a dynamic life.  These are his words, “The secret is this: when you have the single mind, you look on circumstances as God-given opportunities for the furtherance of the Gospel; and you rejoice at what God is going to do instead of complaining about what God did not do.”  Do you see the difference in focus?  One is a woe is me mentality regarding the difficulties of life.  The other focus is, God what are You going to do to wow me today?  When we view life from this latter view point, opportunities for the advancement of the gospel come into play.  Beloved, live with the same single minded purpose as Paul did.  Advance the gospel no matter what circumstance you might be facing.  Let your life bring glory to God.

  1. What opportunities has God given you for the advancement of the gospel?
  2. Are you allowing God to refine you in order to be a better proclaimer of the gospel?
Prayer: Father, I do not enjoy the difficult times you allow me to walk through, but I am thankful for them.  You mold and shape me in the crucible of life.  May I be transformed more into the image of Jesus as a result and proclaim You more boldly.  Amen. 

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