Focal passage: Philippians 1:12-21
Paul took the time to reassure the readers of his letter that even though he is in prison, he is okay. And not only okay, but that good things have come from the hardship. In Philippians 1:12, he asserts, “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”
What could possibly produce more joy in a believer than coming to that realization?
As we study our lesson this week from Philippians 1:12-21, we see that Paul gives us examples of what to do and what not to do. Paul encourages the believers to share Christ with joy, no matter what their circumstances. Therefore, at the top of the do list is share Christ with joy.
He points out however that there are those who have chosen to share Christ with wrong motives.
At the top of the not to do list is to not share Christ out of envy, strife or rivalry. However, Paul is very quick to remind all believers that even though some have wrong motives, that was not to keep the believers from sharing Christ with joy.
Today, we can recognize that a key to joy is as Paul stated, “what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advancement of the gospel.”
So, let’s think for a moment about those experiences in your life when you felt something “happened” to you.
We could consider one category of life experience as loss. A list of losses that happen could include miscarriage, death of a loved one, job loss, a broken relationship or property loss. Paul’s list included the loss of freedom by being imprisoned.
He said, “my imprisonment is for Christ.” Can we now place our life event in the same phrase by replacing “imprisonment” with it? For example, the loss of my grandmother happened to me and “my loss is for Christ.” Can we then consider if Christ has been honored in some way through that loss?
As Paul stated, “but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored,” (verse 20). Then, we demonstrate to others that we can share Christ with joy, no matter what.