Philippians 1:12-30 (NIV)

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guarda and to everyone else that I am in chains1 for Christ. 14 Because of my chains,2 most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.3 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.4 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition,5 not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.b6 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. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers7 and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ,8 what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.c9 20 I eagerly expect10 and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage11 so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,12 whether by life or by death.13 21 For to me, to live is Christ14 and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart15 and be with Christ,16 which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy17 of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm18 in one spirit, contending19 as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you20 on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer21 for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle22 you saw23 I had, and now hear24 that I still have.

Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV)

20 I eagerly expect1 and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage2 so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,3 whether by life or by death.4 21 For to me, to live is Christ5 and to die is gain.

DEVOTION – Philip Polo (Nairobi, Kenya)

Recently, I’ve been thinking about Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi.  While imprisoned for preaching Christ, Paul expressed joy in the knowledge that the gospel of the love and the saving grace of Jesus Christ was being preached, regardless of the manner in which the message was relayed.  Rather than seek sympathy for his unjust imprisonment or vengeance against those stirring up trouble for him, Paul declares that no matter what happens he will continue to rejoice.

Paul’s experience and testimony have made me look back at my own life as a Christian believer and ask myself, Do I glorify Christ in life as Paul did?  Unlike the apostle Paul, when trouble comes along I am more likely to shy away and seek sympathy from others.  Likewise, I am more inclined to seek vengeance against those from whom the trouble comes.

How I wish and pray for courage to emulate Paul!  I want to find joy in every circumstances, knowing that Christ is being preached through my life, both in happy moments and during the times of my sufferings.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How am I reflecting Christ through my life?

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for Paul’s example of what it means to serve you in all circumstances.  Give up the courage and strength to rejoice and preach the gospel through our happy moments and in sad ones too.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE WHO WITNESS FOR CHRIST IN PRISON

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