Seeing Opportunities

Philippians 1: 12-19

“And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.  It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.”

Background:

  • Paul claims that his difficult circumstances have proved to be a catalyst for the Gospel. In human terms, Paul’s captivity wasn’t a good thing, but Paul chose to look with the eyes of eternity to see how God could use even his trials as opportunities to talk about Christ.
  • Paul took opportunities with the praitorio (palace guard).  “As the guards were assigned in succession to Paul, it soon became clear to them that he was no ordinary captive.”(Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
  • Paul’s boldness with the gospel was contagious.  His attitude toward his captivity influenced the world even from behind prison walls.  Other’s caught his passion and preached with pure motives.
  • Even in Paul’s day some preached Christ with wrong motives.  Perhaps with Paul in prison some teachers desired to replace Paul and get themselves some “Christian fame.” Paul said as long as they were preaching the message about Christ, he rejoiced.
  • Paul said in verse 19 that the help of the Spirit of Jesus and the prayers of the Philippians would lead to his deliverance.

Application Questions:

  • Is there a difficulty in your life that tempts you toward self-pity?  How can you see opportunities to share the Gospel with others through these circumstances?
  • Attitudes are contagious.  What are others catching from you today?
  • When others spend time in your presence, does your character and perspective cause them to see something different in you?
  • Do you get caught up worrying about the wrong motives of others in ministry?  Are recognition and prestige things you desire?  (The true test of a servant is they respond when they are treated like one… ouch)
  • Spend a moment meditating on the truth that the prayers of others and the help of the Spirit of Jesus is what will lead to your deliverance.  Does that make you want to ask others to pray specifically for you and seek to stay in step with God’s Spirit today? I hope so!
Prayer:
Adoration: Praise God that He can use difficult circumstances for good in our lives and to advance the Gospel.
Confession:  If your attitude was a virus, what would your family have caught from you this week?  Ask God to help you turn from complaints and turn toward joy in Him.
Thanksgiving:  Thank God for the opportunities you have today to serve Him with joy.
Supplication:  Ask God to give you insight how you can invest and invite others into relationship with Him through your life and words.

 

 

 

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