Philippians 1:12-26 (NIV)
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 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.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 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 prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ 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 depart and be with Christ, 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 boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
What do you do when things go bad? When things don’t go as you planned?
When I was still in college, I loved to play Ultimate Frisbee. I even played for a traveling club team. I can still remember a particular tournament that we had no business even being at. The other teams came from schools 3 and 4 times our size. They had all at least made it to nationals for ultimate and somehow we got in this tournament. This did not go well for us. We were hardly scoring in the games against these teams. They were killing us every game, and we were feeling this. And we started, without trying, getting down on ourselves and each other. We started bickering and arguing over little things that really didn’t matter.
It’s when things aren’t going our way that we find out what our character really is. It’s during trying times that we find out how committed we are to God. In the passage above, Paul is going through a hard time. He is under house arrest waiting on a trial for being a follower of Christ. He has been jailed for following Christ and preaching about Christ. Despite this, Paul is rejoicing to God for his situation and for the church. “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections” (Unknown)
When bad times come, when things don’t go your way, ask yourself these questions:
Pastor Levi's thoughts on Christianity and Christians. I will try to update this every Monday.