so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,Philippians 1:13(NASB)
Paul had to endure many severe hardships and unjust imprisonments in his service to Christ, but we discover that his response to the difficulties and injustices that stalked his life display a deep understanding of God's greater plan for his life. Paul had such a godly joy in his heart that he knew his own hardships would be used for the glory of God and to forward the good news of the gospel of grace to a lost and dying world.
In his joyful epistle to the Christians at Philippi, we discover Paul imprisoned in Rome. His greeting to these believers and his fervent prayer for their spiritual development, godly discernment, and increasing depth of love for one another, seems contradictory to the chains that confined him, but Paul rejoices for this great opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with condemned sinners.
He wants the Philippians to know that this imprisonment has been a great cause to advance the gospel of God and has enabled him to have a renewed impetus in sharing the truth of Christ's love for mankind, His sacrificial death, and His glorious Resurrection, so that all who believe on Him might not perish but have everlasting life.
Paul does not consider himself a captive of Rome, but a prisoner of Christ and ambassador of heaven carrying out his assigned duty as a good and faithful servant - joyful in the knowledge that he is fulfilling God's will for his life.
His prison witness had become so widespread that all his fellow-inmates, together with the prison jailers and all the palace guards from the Cesar's own household, had come to know the reason for Paul's imprisonment and had heard the good news of the glorious gospel of grace. And so he joyfully announces: "Everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ."
May we become so one with our Saviour that like Paul, we consider it pure joy whenever we are called upon by God to face one of life's many trials, terrors, or tribulations, knowing He will use everything, however difficult and distressing, for our eternal good and for the furtherance of the glorious gospel of Christ Jesus our Saviour.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may become so 'one with my Saviour', that I learn to entrust every situation into His hands, no matter how difficult or distressing it may be. Help me remember that all things in life serve to advance the gospel of Christ, to Your praise and glory. May I learn to rejoice in all things, knowing that there is nothing that can touch my life that You cannot use to further the good news of the gospel of grace to a dying world in need of a Saviour. This I ask in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.
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