Philippians 1:12 (NAS): Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel..
Inprisonment was the circumstance that Paul is referring. Instead of complaining and focusing on how bad things are, he took this as an opportunity to thank God. Why? Because the Gospel was moving forward. This tells us that the most important thing to Paul was the Gospel. For Paul nothing else mattered. Paul faced imprisonment, persecution, ship wrecks, flogging, stoning, lack of sleep, lack of shelter, lack of clothes and endangerment (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). All happened as a result of His obedience to preach the Gospel. He never complained.
As a minister I am asked to pray for people a lot and to be honest it is always something I have struggled with. To know what to say, how to pray, what to pray for, while at the same time making sure my prayers are Biblical. The conclusion that I come to is that yes, we can pray for healing and for God to intervene in our circumstances. At the same time we must never forget to ask God to use this situation for His Glory. “Jesus, use this situation to advance the Gospel.” This should be our priority, instead of Him removing the trial. There are many priorities we can have in the church. We can prioritize fellowship, facilities, something for the kids etc. The top priority in every church should always be the Gospel- The good news that Christ gave His life so that we could know Him (John 17:3, 1 John 1:7). All activities within a church should have this as the goal.
Thanksgiving is coming up this week. What are your priorities for that day? I would guess they involve food in some way. It’s amazing how during holidays we kind of over do it. One helping or plateful isn’t enough. We always must have more! Why? We do this for nourishment….right? Nope. We eat much more than we need. We do this because the food tastes SO good. We couldn’t imagine a Thanksgiving where food wasn’t present (that statement alone creates weird feeling in my stomach). The same way that food is a priority for us at Thanksgiving, the Gospel message should be the top priority in our lives, relationships and churches. Nothing else matters, especially our physical situation. Instead of complaining about our circumstances, let’s be thankful because we know in some way God will use them for His Glory.
I am The Wild Man...
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