I’ve been a follower of Jesus for about 36yrs now and reading my bible for about 33yrs. Throughout these years there have been times when I’ve read my bible and was unmoved or didn’t understand what I was reading, as well as times when the words jumped off the page to me. It was as if God we’re speaking directly to me. This past week, I was reading through the book of Philippians and I had one of those moments. A simple passage I’ve read a thousand times came alive:
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard 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 without fear.”Philippians 1:12-14
A couple of things the Lord challenged me with and I hope to challenge you as well.
1. “What are you calling a PRISON that God is calling your MISSION?”
Paul is imprisoned in Rome chained to a guard 24hours a day and rather than seeing difficulty, he sees opportunity!! Are you constantly held captive, made a prisoner by your circumstances? Can you gain the perspective of Paul, that wherever you are God has placed you there for a purpose. To make His great gospel seen and known. Rather than sulk, Paul saw fit to write most of the New Testament epistles including the…….wait for it…….PRISON EPISTLES: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon.
2. “Who are you chained to?”
Paul was chained at the wrist to a Roman Imperial Guard 24/7. These hardened men were won over by the Gospel and life of Paul. Rather than lamenting his situation, he saw he had a ‘CAPTIVE AUDIENCE’! Think of how many people God has ‘chained’ to your life: spouse, kids, co-workers, gym members, Starbucks barista. You don’t have to ‘save’ them, you CAN”T! That’s God’s business. But, they should see and hear the Gospel all over your life. Who are you chained to?
3. “We need your BOLDNESS!”
Notice that through the boldness of Paul, other believers grew bold. It’s been my experience that both fear and faith are contagious. As you tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to be a bold witness, you simultaneously encourage the atmosphere of faith that may ignite the world around you. BE BOLD!