In chains for Christ!
Scripture reading for September 29th: Philippians 1:1-26
Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while in chains imprisoned in Rome. Paul was himself practicing what he wrote to the church he had founded, by maintaining a positive tone and encouraging words. He viewed himself to be a prisoner for Jesus Christ! (Philippians 1:13) The letter was written to the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi and the overseers and deacons to encourage them to persevere. Christ had begun His work in them and He would see it through to completion! (Philippians 1:6)
Paul prayed a beautiful prayer for these saints. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11) Paul’s heart for this church was that they grow in love. This love would come from an understanding of God’s will for purity and holiness in their personal conduct. God wants to use each person to bring glory to Himself. Jesus Christ is the only source of true love and righteousness. The day of Christ’s return will bring rewards to those who are by choice living to please and glorify God.
Paul encouraged the Philippians to understand that even suffering and persecution can work out God’s plans. What he was enduring in the Roman jail was furthering the cause of the Gospel. Many in the Roman guard got to hear because of his imprisonment. Other believers were encouraged to be bold because of Paul’s attitude and joy to serve God even in prison.
Paul made a conscious choice to rejoice! He understood that through prayers and the Holy Spirit everything would turn out for his deliverance. He was not sure what that deliverance might look like at that moment. “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21) Oh that we might grow in grace to embrace such an attitude and make a daily choice to rejoice!