Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
“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. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 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, 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. 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. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
While Paul was in prison some Christians were worried about his well-being and his mission. Paul wrote a letter to encourage them and let them know that not even prison can stop the Gospel from going out! In fact, his imprisonment helped! All the guards and many others have seen Paul’s faith and know why he is there, while other Christians have been encouraged by Paul’s witness and are preaching even more. Not many of us will be put in prison for talking about Jesus, but we will all be faced with hardships and pain. Paul was strengthened by his love of Jesus to endure suffering and because of it, more people heard about Jesus. What difficult things are you going through right now? Ask God to help you understand how your faith witnesses to others. Also, how could you encourage others so that they might have strength to spread God’s Gospel and love, too?