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Philippians 1:12-30 (NIV)
Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel
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.
Life Worthy of the Gospel
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
How do you think verse 27 says to us in this time of uncertainty and change?
Holy Sovereign Lord, I ask for forgiveness for my complacency and for taking my freedoms and blessings for granted. Being separated through the social distancing requirements has made me realize how much the people, activities, and freedoms actually mean to me. Everything that has been comfortable in life has abruptly changed, including how we do church. I have learned through this that You can be glorified in the midst of problems. During this time of crisis, it is even more important to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel. It is even more critical to be confident in Your promises in order to spread Your love and grace to people who are fearful, hurting and need to know about Your love and grace. Lord, please use this time of isolation to advance the gospel in the world. Let me learn and grow from this experience so that when we are able to gather again, I don’t fall back into comfortable patterns of the past, but instead am pliable to however Your Will presents itself and enthusiastically serve You. Help me to continue to take personal responsibility for my spiritual growth and relationship with You after things settle back to a new normal. Help me to accept and be open to any changes that are helpful in spreading the gospel as my reality shifts resulting from this unprecedented time, now and in the future. Help me to stand firm with fellow believers in Your one Holy Spirit, as we work together in unity for the faith of the gospel. Amen