In The Word
Read: Philippians 1:12-26
The Gospel Is Preached
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
To Live Is Christ
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Paul realized that his life was not his own. His circumstances of imprisonment and near-death experiences for the gospel were not his topic of discussion. Instead, he encouraged the believers that what the enemy meant for harm God was using for His glory. No self-pity party for Paul. Those guards that had to chain themselves to Paul to keep him secure were hearing the Word of God. In fact, the guard unit and many others knew the Lord because of Paul. They were his brothers in Christ. They had truly given their lives to Him and spoke the Word of God fearlessly with the power of the Holy Spirit. However, others were trying to copy what Paul was doing except out of selfish ambition and pride. Paul wasn’t offended; he rejoiced that Christ was proclaimed to that many more people.
Our desire should be like Paul’s: for Christ to be glorified in all that we do, in life or in death. He said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He is actually hard pressed to know which to desire. It would be easier on him if he went home to be with the Lord, but he knew that it was better for the other believers if he remained. He knew that more people would hear the good news of Christ, more people would be encouraged, and more fruit would come to God’s glory while he was still there. Whose sake are you living for? Live for Christ’s sake.