Philippians 1:18b-30 Devotional 4/7/2020
Start by reading Philippians 1:18b-30
Rejoicing that transcends all restrictions, distances, circumstances, yes, even life itself. When a people’s greatest hope is in the gospel, Christ will be magnified, and His people will rejoice. Yes, they will rejoice!
The Apostle Paul was doing his second, two-year term in prison, shut off and separated from his beloved church family. People were in Philippi, defaming his character and distorting the gospel to suit their own twisted motives. Yet Paul says, “I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.” Was Paul disconnected from reality? Paul is such a great example for us to imitate by showing us that, when our supreme treasure and what we attach ourselves to the most is the gospel of Jesus, even a life upending circumstance can become an opportunity. It can actually be a grace of God that offers a hand to grab in faith for the security we found elsewhere.
Paul knew Christ would be magnified by him, whether in life or even by death. If he were to die, he considered it a gain because he would then be with Christ in the fullest sense, and that is far better than even life itself. He could also rejoice because if he were to live it would mean fruitful labor in the joy producing faith from hearts the gospel takes root in. Paul could rejoice because the gospel of grace took center stage in what he filtered his world through. With a perspective like Paul’s, no situation or circumstance could steal his joy.
Paul then calls for the Church to respond by living worthy of this gospel of Christ. How? By standing firm, in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel without fear. Unite in what’s most important, and treasure together in joyous harmony the wonders of our glorious Jesus. Stand firm therefore and strive together. Fear not opposition as it is only a sign that your real home is heaven! Rejoice, because it has been granted that you not only believe in Christ but suffer for his sake! Rejoice!
What does this mean for us, right now, in the middle of this pandemic? Well, sometimes God allows things to happen that can shed light on areas in our life where we haven’t fully surrendered to Him. We can all trust Him more with the things we labor in, invest in and are responsible for. We can find comfort this season in what a rich mercy it is to show us where those areas are. He will never leave us in a situation that He won’t also supply the grace we need to not only endure, but rejoice, giving Him the glory and us the joy. Let us partner as a church in view of this situation by prayerfully reprioritizing, seeking wisdom to adjust, the courage to act, and perseverance to follow through in committing all things to the Lord He might touch this season by His gracious finger.
First, can we count this time a grace and mercy of God to partner as a Church in a renewed life of prayer? If so, let us pray for each other as a whole, our leaders, our families, our interns, our people and then for the world.
Second, can we count this time a grace and mercy of God to shed light on our life that may be lacking in the discipline of feasting on His word? Let us as a people be known for our love for God’s Word and partner in a fresh and new diligence to that end.
Third, can we see this time as a grace and mercy of God to remind us how to love and make much of every opportunity we get to gather together? For now, with a renewed zeal, let us partner in using whatever means possible to fellowship with one another, while we eagerly anticipate that coming day when we can all gather together again and sing with one voice to the glory of God! Amen!
Fourth, can we see this time as a grace and mercy of God to leverage as a way to glorify Him with our generosity? When people are white knuckling their things, let us trust the Lord with ours and show our greatest treasure is Christ alone.
Fifth, can we see this time as a grace and mercy of God to show the world what makes us different? What a hope in Christ looks like to a world so influenced by the unpredictable nature of life, especially now, where certainty is lacking, ours is on the solid Rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand. Let us then extend a hand to a sinking world and introduce them to Jesus. Amen!