12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[a] 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[b] 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 defence 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.
Do you ever think when you are in the middle of something terrible that God will use that situation to highlight the truth of the gospel to someone else?
In troubled times, normally in such a “fog” of the situation, where my mind is consumed with details and emotions that it is difficult to have a higher level of thinking of anything else. When the situation resolves itself there tends to be specific “God moments” that I can pinpoint to tell others and encourage others.
As Paul writes in this passage, it almost feels to me like he is illuminated in his mind and words (vs 18 “the important thing, whether be false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice”). He is in chains yet still so thankful that many have heard of Jesus and the truth. His words, to this day are inspirational and humbling to all. It feels almost that he is fearless.
Dear God, thank you that you sent Paul to be such an example for us, even in the year 2021, so many years after his life on earth. Thank you that although he suffered in chains, it was not in vain and that many have heard of Christ because of his life. Lord, teach us to be humble and to rise above our own suffering and remember that in all things you have a plan and purpose for our lives.
Written by Susannah Ware