“And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Philippians 1:14
Philippians is arguably the most encouraging book throughout the Holy Bible, and yet was written under circumstances that are less than positive or encouraging. Paul wrote the short book of Philippians from the confines of a prison cell in Rome awaiting his execution. Despite his circumstances that most individuals would view as joyless, Paul manages to write a book of the bible that offers joys and encouragement to early Christians as well as modern day Christians. Paul did not write the book from a clueless perspective, but instead he wrote Philippians very aware of his grave circumstances and the fate that waited him. Different than most men or women, Paul soberly embraced his circumstances and continued to share the Gospel until his death.
Paul faced much suffering throughout his life, but still managed to write this letter that offered indisputable hope and a message of joy despite circumstances. His letter tells us that joy is available no matter our circumstances. In particular, this verse shows that God can use any circumstance to serve as a catalyst for spreading the Gospel. Even from the confines of a prison cell, Paul was able to help spread the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Paul was even able to influence the prison guards and Caesar’s household.
This verse highlights the amazing byproduct that came of Paul’s imprisonment – the encouragement that it brought to other Christians. Rather than being overwhelmed with fear, early Christians grew in heart and courage due to Paul’s imprisonment. They became bold in their proclamation, fearless in sharing the Gospel, not lacking any confidence.
While today very few modern day Christians face imprisonment for spreading the good news, the circumstances of tomorrow are never guaranteed. Each day the world becomes increasingly more dangerous and distressing. Let us have the same confidence as Paul to be willing to be a prisoner for the word of God, knowing that he will use it for good.
Thank you for the sacrifices that Paul made to spread the good news. Let us take hope in his example, and have the same confidence to share the Gospel with those around us.
In Jesus’ Name,