Paul was experiencing the worst of times, in jail. But, he was also experiencing the best of times, trusting God and reflecting constantly on the goodness of God in every one of life’s mishaps and situations.
The good and the bad, the fair and the unfair…that’s how life is, isn’t it? The human experience is some of the best and some of the worst.
How could Paul’s chains serve to advance anything? Chains seem negative not positive, don’t they? And now to add insult to injury there are people who are “using” his chains, his situation to rival him… even using the word of God to do so!
“Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
“What does it matter?” Are you kidding me, Paul? What does it matter? That is how you look at people dissing you?
Oh, sisters, we can learn a thing or two from Paul’s attitude and perspective, can’t we? If it were us, we might take it personally that people were using our chains and disadvantage to advance themselves or their agendas. But, not Paul. He seemed to view everything in life through a lens of faith in the bigger picture. At the end of the day, all that really mattered to him is that Christ was preached and the kingdom advanced. He would not waste energy worrying about motive, he chose instead to rejoice and find great joy in everything.
What about you? Where are you at today? What chains are holding you back? Who is ” stirring” up life despite your chains? Can you rejoice? What might that look like to have a bigger picture view of things?
A friend of mind began blogging ( Lisa Ramos Blog) I have cut and pasted her blog for today because I think it fits, and because I like the way she crafts words. Enjoy!
Do you ever feel like things are amazing and icky at the same time? I was just reading about the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the promised land. In one chapter, Joshua 6, they are marching around a city that has stood with fortified walls for thousands of years. They shouted and then watched the walls collapse. In the next chapter, they have a small town, Ai, to conquer, and they get their fannies (keepin’ it PG) kicked. From an incredible high to a humiliating low.
These are the times I have to remind myself, God is in control. This is not a surprise to him. Everything that happens to me is part of his design to draw me near to his heart.
The Israelites went through a time of examination after this defeat at Ai. Even though we usually hate exams, they let us know how we are doing. We find out if we are understanding the material, or if we need to have something surgically removed, or if we better take some more drivers training…
How about joining me in a 60 second exam? Lord, where am I headed for
“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.” Psalm 26:2
Blessings to you this Wednesday!
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