Letter of Joy-Philippians 1:12-26 (Know and Focus on What the Important Thing is)

Even though Paul’s in prison, suffering for Christ, God is using him. Not only are people coming to Christ, but other Christians are also boldly sharing the gospel, inspired by Paul’s words and actions. On top of being in prison, Paul has heard accounts of people preaching the gospel out of envy. Similar to his mindset towards the prison, Paul sees the greater purpose behind the envious preachers. 

  • But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false moties or ture, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice. (Philippians 1: 18)

All Paul cares about is Christ being preached. He finds joy when his work aligns with his vision, mission and values—the important thing! The same applies to everyone when we know and follow through with our actions to do the most important thing, not the most urgent thing nor the easiest thing.

Paul says he “was put here for the defence of the gospel.” By using passive language, he implies that God is the one who allowed him to be thrown in prison. Paul trusts that God put him in prison, and he gets to see the fruit of his faithfulness—the whole palace guard knows he’s there for Christ, and Christians are boldly sharing the gospel. Although some preach the gospel out of rivalry, Paul sees God’s sovereign hand over the envious preachers. He rejoices because the gospel is going out—it doesn’t matter to him how it’s happening.

Suffering can serve many purposes. Our attitude towards suffering can make a difference not only in our personal walk with God but also in the lives of the people around us. It’s tempting to believe the Christian life is supposed to be easy—or that it’s supposed to be about us. Paul demonstrates a different approach: Our lives as Christians are for Jesus and his people, not ourselves. Our life serves a purpose that is greater than we can understand.

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