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Not ashamed to be identified as God’s follower

For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Philippians 1:19-24

From the text, Paul is quite willing to share the struggle he was dealing with while imprisoned for his faith with his dearest of friends, the Philippians. He quotes a passage from Job 13:16 referring to his imprisonment that “this will lead to my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19). In the same way that Job knew that he would be vindicated when he stood before God, so Paul asserts his faith in this “deliverance.” He mentions two reasons for this confidence. One, he has the prayers of the Philippians; second, he has help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Just as he has admonished them in his prayer to be “filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:11), he expects that the suffering he’s going through will demonstrate such character that “will bring honor to Christ.” Whether his imprisonment will result to gaining back his life or will lead to his death, all he has done was for the sake of Jesus and “fruitful work for Christ” (Philippians 1:22). For Paul whether in life or death, there’s nothing to regret for he lived his life demonstrating the godliness that is characteristic of the Spirit-filled life. Just like any other believer, he would far rather “be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23). But since his principle is “Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24), he thinks “it is better that [he] continue to live” to return to them and to his missionary endeavors. It must be remembered that the struggle of living or dying that Paul describes was not his choice to make. It was made for him. He faces the reality of death as one who, at least at one point, believed it to be forthcoming. Such retrospect caused him to reflect on how he was living the life Christ gave him. In that reflection, he realized that the life he now lives has to be lived for Christ so he “will never be ashamed” and “will continue to be bold for Christ” (Philippians 1:20). Just like each and every one of us that made the commitment to follow Christ, the struggle Paul describes was real but it is up to us if we will choose to honor God with the life He gave us.


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