I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me
has really served to advance the gospel.
Philippians 1:12 ESV
Paul had a lot of circumstances come his way that would crush most of us. Myself included! I have lived a fairly comfortable life, but the apostle Paul lived a life highly purposed in a way that put him in danger in many ways. He was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, left for dead, bitten by a snake, and then he sat in prison for many of his last years on this earth. I probably would have chilled out somewhere after the snake thing, but Paul kept pressing on, using every opportunity to advance the gospel. His mindset was set on the truth that Jesus had done something amazing in saving him, and he had decided that no matter what came his way, he would see it as an opportunity to advance the gospel. Shipwrecked…opportunity. Snake-bitten…opportunity. Stoned…opportunity. Imprisoned…opportunity.
As I look at how I have often responded to the difficult circumstances in my life, I have taken the opportunity to feel sorry for myself, I have taken the opportunity to complain, I have even taken the opportunity to numb the pain with momentary pleasures. But I want that to change. Like Paul, I want to remember all that Jesus has done for me. I want to be so amazed at His love for me that I see every circumstance as a chance to advance the gospel.
I pray that we would be a people who know our Savior so intimately and appreciate His love in our lives so much, we would put our feelings, our hopes, our pride, our dreams, our schedules, and our circumstances down at His feet…that we could use everything in our lives as a way to advance the gospel.