I want you to know, brothers,[fn4] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,
so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[fn5] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.
And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[fn6] without fear.
What happened to Paul had to be terrifying to the natural man; but, apparently, Paul had learned how to rise above the dictates of his flesh.
This holds for me a powerful example of what it means to keep my eyes on Jesus, not looking at nor considering the circumstances.
“Hey! How ya doin’,” the pastor greeted his friend.
“Fine…under the circumstances,” the friend replied.
The pastor retorted, “What are you doing under there?”
The humor in that setup continually reminds me to maintain my focus. Sometimes, the situation becomes heavier than others, and I falter. But, what I have discovered as I pray about my failure, is that the situation became heavier when I began to consider it. Therefore, I am still looking for the secret to not give in to the temptation to consider, worry, fret, question, or whatever my circumstances.
I am learning to commit my way to the Lord on a daily basis. I am learning to commit my thoughts. I am still learning what all that means and how it is carried out on a daily, moment-by-moment basis.
Paul found himself chained, his freedom to move about openly hindered. Yet, it in no way took away from his commission to preach the gospel.
Rather than be frustrated about his plans to travel, he just relaxed in the Lord and continued to do what he had always done–preach Jesus.
It is when I begin to focus on my plans for the kingdom and then see how they are not working out that I become frustrated. A lack of money can do it. A lack of a place to meet can do it. A cross word from a loved one can do it.
But, as we work our way through this study, I will eventually see why Paul was able to say, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
Maybe I will be further along in my journey by then, and will have a more encouraging note to write.
NOTE: There is an ongoing study of the epistle to the Philippians. It is a verse-by-verse study by all who participate.
Won’t you join us?