If you have a pulse, you have probably asked the
age-old question, “Why is this happening to me?” The Bible is full of stories of people who
were mistreated for what seemed to be no good reason. We
can look at the persecution of Jesus, King David, or Job as clear examples of
God-fearing men who didn’t deserve the abuse that came their way. Another example that we will look at today is
the Apostle Paul. In the first chapter
of Philippians, Paul gives us three reasons he found while he was unfairly
imprisoned in a Roman jail.
Philippians 1:12 - Now I want you to know, brothers and
sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the
Things to think about:
· “It’s not
fair!” is one of the most common complaints humans utter. There is a sense of justice that we all have
and when it is violated, we demand to know why this is happening.
Are going through a time now where this is the recurring thought
going through your mind?
If not now, when has this been the case for you?
· Of course, we
all know Romans 8:28 that all things work together for the good for those who
love God and are called according to His purpose.
But sometimes we really want to know what that purpose is!
Philippians 1 offers us three potential answers
To Advance the Gospel
· In our verse,
Paul says that what is happening to him is serving to advance the gospel
· He goes on to
say in verses 13 and 14, “As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole
palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 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
Non-believers could plainly see that Paul was a man of conviction,
willing to be in chains for his beliefs.
Moreover, believers grew in their confidence to proclaim the
Why is it so compelling to see a clear-cut model of conviction?
Have you seen examples of this in your own life where someone was
willing to endure “unfairness” for the sake of the gospel?
One’s Own Deliverance
· The second major
benefit Paul offers is found in verse 19 – “for I know that through your
prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has
happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”
Paul said that his deliverance through this time was fortified by
the prayers of others and the Holy Spirit.
We cannot tough it out on our own.
We need the prayer support of others, coupled with the Spirit to make it
How have you seen this play out in your own life?
The Benefit of Others
· Lastly, Paul
concludes in verse 25 with, “I will continue with all of you for your progress
and joy in the faith”
In this section, Paul was actually talking about whether it would
just be better for him to die so he could be in the presence of the Lord (his
preference) or to remain and help the young church grow (his duty).
As a pillar of faith, of course Paul opted to remain for the sake
Your perseverance in suffering can propel others along in their own
journey and give them joy in the faith.
That is a remarkable outcome to a circumstance that on its surface may
How have you been inspired by the faithfulness of another,
especially when they have been in trying circumstances?
doesn’t have to be wasted time. Clearly,
God can be actively at work to bring new believers into the kingdom, to
minister to you personally, and to grow others in the faith.
o The trick is to respond as Paul did and
not focus on the circumstances (or even the outcome) but on the spiritual
process taking place around and in you, to God’s glory.