And I will continue to be glad. 19 I know that you are praying for me. I also know that God will give me the Spirit of Jesus Christ to help me. So no matter what happens, I’m sure I will still be set free. 20 I completely expect and hope that I won’t be ashamed in any way. I’m sure I will be brave enough. Now as always Christ will receive glory because of what happens to me. He will receive glory whether I live or die. 21 For me, life finds all its meaning in Christ. Death also has its benefits. 22 Suppose I go on living in my body. Then I will be able to carry on my work. It will bear a lot of fruit. But what should I choose? I don’t know! 23 I can’t decide between the two. I long to leave this world and be with Christ. That is better by far. 24 But it is more important for you that I stay alive. 25 I’m sure of this. So I know I will remain with you. And I will continue with all of you to help you grow in your faith. I will also continue to help you be joyful in what you have been taught. 26 I’m sure I will be with you again. Then you will be able to boast in Christ Jesus even more because of me.
Paul is verbalising his adamant confidence in God that everything is going according to God’s plan. He is ready to die, knowing that it means he will be taken to Christ’s side. But he is certain in his spirit that there is still more work for him to do, to help the Philippians church. He is confident that he will be delivered from his gaol cell by God, not for his own sake, but to continue this work. He knows that by the prayers of the church and the presence of the Lord Jesus miracles happen and he expects to have the resources he needs from God to endure pain in the mean time.
I am struck by the way Paul has sized up his situation. Ultimately he says Christ in complete control and has decided that he cannot lose, he is ‘more than a conqueror’! This from a man in a first century roman prison!
Lord, this is the joy that you promised us all, that you will never leave us nor forsake us, that you work all things for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose. It is your presence that turns prisons into purpose! Abide with me today. Amen.
Written by Andrew Mellor