The good that comes out in times of testings
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually 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. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. Philippians 1:12-16
Right thinking leads to right living. This is what Paul is describing when he expresses the reason for his imprisonment. Apparently, he is anticipating an acquittal of the false charges against him when he arrives in Rome where he wants his case be heard. Such was not the case for he has remained in prison. Christians in Philippi are distressed about Paul’s situation. Yet, Paul demonstrated a mindset that provided him strength while waiting for his trial. Because he believes that God has a purpose for his imprisonment, he is able to understand how these circumstances have worked out for the good of the gospel. To have such resolve to one’s disastrous circumstances to God’s providence can only be attributed to the filling of the Spirit. Paul has come to understand that his imprisonment will not deter him from sharing the gospel. “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). He has been placed under the palace guard themselves and they are a captive audience; they cannot get away from him or his preaching. He has thus been provided an audience by his imprisonment he could not have had otherwise. Another benefit he has come to see in his imprisonment is that others have been encouraged to witness more enthusiastically. “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear” (Philippians 1:14). It might be supposed that others would be more hesitant to speak openly about the Christian faith seeing what has happened to Paul because of his preaching. But such is not the case. Perhaps, like Paul, they see God’s hand at work even in Paul’s imprisonment. They realize that despite Paul’s condition yet not deterred from sharing the gospel, they are encouraged in their part in this kingdom work. They are able to preach where Paul cannot and they are all the more determined to do what they can to take up the slack. Whatever the reason, more people have heard the gospel because of the imprisonment. What is demonstrated here is the transforming power of the gospel. Life is changed because of the power of God’s word. It will provide a healthy perspective about our circumstances and will help us look for opportunities to proclaim the gospel.