Philippians 1:12-14 ESV
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Sometimes seeming tragedies are blessings in disguise. Sometimes God closes doors we are endeavoring to go through because he has another door he has opened for us to go through, instead. Sometimes God allows us to get rejected and/or mistreated one place because that isn’t where he wants us, and so we will seek his face and find out where he does want us. And sometimes the mistreatment continues because he uses that to strengthen us and to make us determined and motivated to follow in his ways.
If we were brought up in the institutional church and to believing that “church” is what we are seeing, and that it has to be like what we have always known, God may allow us to go through some persecution in the gatherings of “the church,” in order to make us disenchanted with what we have always come to regard as “church.” And then, as we seek his face, through our tears, he shows us that much of what we have known isn’t his design and purpose for us and he has something else for us to do.
And then, as we walk through another door, a door we have not ever gone through before, at least not in the same way as before, the Lord begins to use us in ways we never thought possible, nor did we ever dream of such an opportunity. And so what had happened to us, which then led us to go through this new door, literally turns out to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ to people throughout the world. And it encourages other followers of Christ in their walks of faith, too. Amen! All glory to God!!
Philippians 1:18-20 ESV
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
The Scriptures teach that we are to rejoice in our tribulations and when we are persecuted for the sake of Jesus and righteousness and the gospel. Now, this doesn’t mean we are not allowed to cry. We are! The Scriptures also talk much about sorrow, sadness, crying, and weeping. Those are permitted. We are allowed to grieve. But we are to pour out our suffering to the Lord, and we are to trust in his sovereignty, and then, even through our tears, we are to rejoice that we have been counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.
And “deliverance” doesn’t mean that God is always going to deliver us from our suffering, or from trials and persecutions, for the Scriptures teach that we are destined for these, and that they are for our good, and they help us to become more steadfast and determined so we are able to persevere and continue in what God has called us to do without retreating. So, the deliverance is more likely to be in our ability to withstand the persecutions, and the trials and tribulations, and to endure and to keep going forward.
And whether or not we have the support and encouragement of others, and whether or not they approve of us and what we are doing, in the strength of the Lord we can still have courage to face our “giants” and to conquer them, and to be victorious over all opposition and fear, etc. And we can keep moving forward in doing what God has called us to do so that Christ will be honored in our lives, whether by life or by death. For if we are obeying the Lord, our work will be rewarded.
Philippians 1:21-26 ESV
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
And if we are going to follow Jesus with our lives, to be his disciples, his followers, this is what it is going to require. First of all, we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and then be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self must be crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin, but to God and to his righteousness, all for the glory of God, in his power and strength.
And then our lives must be lived for Christ and no longer for self and for self-pleasure. Now, this is not saying that we have to live in misery or that we can never laugh or enjoy life, but that our lives are to be given over to Jesus Christ to now follow him in his ways, to doing his will for our lives, obeying his commands (New Covenant). We are to live for Christ and for his glory and purposes according to his will for our lives. Then, when we do die, we will inherit eternal life with God, and oh what glory that will be!
Now, the older we get, and the longer we have served the Lord, I think the more ready we are to go home to be with Jesus. But the Lord did put us on this earth for a purpose, and as long as he intends to use us in other people’s lives, we should desire to remain on the earth, no matter how much suffering we must endure. We should put others above ourselves and be willing to suffer for their salvation and for their spiritual growth and encouragement in the Lord Jesus. And God will give us the courage!
Give Me Courage, Lord
An Original Work / November 13, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Do not let your hearts grow weary,
For your work will be rewarded.
Be strong; let your hearts take courage.
Do not fear but wait on Jesus.
Be strong and very courageous,
For your God will go before you.
Do not fear. He will not leave you.
Wait for Him. He’ll not forsake you.
Be careful to do what He says.
Do not turn away from your Lord.
Take courage! You’ll be His witness,
For God will guide and protect you.
So we are always encouraged.
We walk by faith and not vision.
We make it our aim to please Him,
So in Christ, we glorify Him.