Bad turned to good
“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,” Philippians 1:12
In going through the letters that Paul wrote to the new testament churches, it is clear that he went through many struggles. Yet in today’s passage, he says it has turned out for the good of the gospel. It’s no wonder that God chose him to write most of the New Testament. In this first chapter of Philippians, he is talking about being in prison because his own people (the Jewish people) were trying to kill him. He appealed to Caesar, so that insured his passage into Europe, right where God needed him to be. If He didn’t go there, we probably wouldn’t even have the great homeland that we have today and for sure the world would be a different place.
In today’s scripture he actually said that being in chains for Christ had turned out to further the good news of Christ Jesus! The most amazing part was that he said all the palace guard now knew the gospel of Jesus and many had received Him. Then he went on to say they all were talking about it! Even though some talked about it to ridicule him, he didn’t even care because the message was still getting out. Think about it, one of the guards said that Paul was there because he preached salvation through Jesus who raise from the dead and said it because he wanted to belittle Paul. Well, he just told the story and now others knew it and were talking about it. This witness was actually drawing people who wanted to know more about the message. How creative!
I consider how I have felt in the past. Maybe I was afraid to say something because it might not be received the way I want it to be, but by telling the salvation message to all those around, the word is spreading. Even if it is just to talk smack against you/me, others hear it and can actually be drawn by the smack talker’s contempt. Notice how Paul didn’t come at people with a condemning spirit telling them they were sinners and going to hell. He always told the same story, and it was about how he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. His witness was always about how Jesus changed his life and the love of God for everyone! His attitude was always about love no matter which prison he was in.
Paul was highly respected, and we know this because when he got to Rome, he lived in his own private home. He was not treated like a prisoner at that time. “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30-31
Today I want to encourage you to be a witness wherever you are. It can be in your neighborhood, school, or at work. Even if it isn’t readily accepted, the word will spread and soon everyone will be talking about the good news of Jesus and not even realize they are doing it. When you come around, they will know that you are a child of God. Then you will begin to notice others being drawn to Jesus through your example and testimony.
Today’s scripture reading: Philippians 1:12-18