Here is my disclaimer – I have sucked at mummy meditation this week. My head has been in the clouds and filled with a million and one things to do (I ran a charity cakeaway for Teenage Cancer Trust on bank holiday monday so that took a lot of brain power, and then it was my birthday on Friday so was wrapped up in celebrations….). I sat down this morning with nothing to show for a week of contemplation and meditation, but God in all his love and faithfulness has revealed something special to me about this passage that I want to share with you all. Here’s a quick reminder of it:
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 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.” Philippians 1:12-14
Do you ever feel slightly guilty that you live a cushy christian life? I mean I know we have worries and troubles, but here in the UK we can hardly call ourselves the persecuted church. Sometimes I do, and I wonder what I would be like in those situations. Like the Christians in Syria are currently facing and in many other places across the world.
But God reminded me today that in this passage, it was only Paul who was in chains. There were others who weren’t. And they weren’t having a pity party for themselves or hiding underground because they were scared. They weren’t crying “oh I wish it was me in chains”. NO! They were using what was happening to Paul as motivation to do God’s work – they were proclaiming the gospel fearlessly because Paul’s example gave them courage. If Paul could share the gospel whilst in chains then they could sure as well do it outside.
Shouldn’t that be our mindset today? Lets not make the sacrifice that so many christians make in the persecuted church be for nothing – lets use it as our courage, our inspiration and our challenge to share the gospel where God has put us. We (currently) are not Paul – we are not in chains. But how much worse would Paul have felt if the christians outside were just sat around doing naff all whilst he was in chains for the gospel!!! Lets make it worth something!
Finally, Paul uses the phrase “what has happened to me”. You know, life just sort of happens around us sometimes – we can’t predict how society will change towards us, what natural disasters might strike and many other things. But we can control how we react to them. We can either let it be the becoming of us, where we rise up and overcome like Paul did, or we can let it overcome us and sit moaning about what has happened to us. Paul did not moan about being in chains, he rejoiced about it! He knew that without his chains those people in the palace wouldn’t have heard the good news of Jesus Christ.
So whatever has happened, is happening, or is yet to happen to you, just rejoice in it all. Rejoice in the good, rejoice in boring and rejoice in the bad, because God can use it all to further his gospel.
I apologise again as I have no bible journaling artwork to show you this week, but next week I am hoping to get my head back in the game! So will you join me in pondering the verse below?
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
See you next week and happy meditating!