12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 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. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
I love how matter of fact Paul is – he just wants the Gospel preached – in fact he doesn’t really care by what motive! He loves that even his captors know about the true reason he is in chains – the Gospel! It is interesting to me that the impact of his incarceration on the believers in the city is to embolden them. Wow the power of persecution! I would have thought that with some trouble some would have run a mile – think Peter and the Cockerel – I’m not sure I would have done anything other than what Peter did I might add, but here the believers are emboldened by persecution! Paul even says he rejoices that the Gospel is preached!
So what of me – where do I fit this picture and how would I respond? I am taken by the believers being emboldened by Paul’s imprisonment (v14). I need to keep close to Christ, so that if persecution arises around me or in my life that I do not cower in fear, rather that it brings me strength. I need to renew my commitment to the Gospel and remind myself daily of the salvation I am so thankful for in Christ as I know this gives me strength to face any and all things.
Father, help me to stay truly close to you – and so remain resilient against the threat of persecution.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta