It’s Thursday and it’s Bin Day in Kings Heath and Dallington – I know you would be disappointed if I didn’t remind you of this fact!!
Our reading from the Bible today is Philippians Chapter 1 verses 12-26.
There are I think at least 3 slightly surprising ideas/sentiments contained here, 2 of which probably we do know are true deep down, but they don’t surface to the top of our consciousness that often, and we might struggle with them in the everyday.
– Paul’s situation of being imprisoned for his faith (probably here more of a house arrest rather than a desperate dungeon) he turns to a positive because it means the gospel has advanced and other people have come to hear about Jesus through him and other believers being given courage to share their faith (vs.12-14).
We don’t like it when things go wrong in our lives, especially if it is unfair, but sometimes God uses these situations for His purposes, and we need to have eyes of faith, His view on things, to understand and appreciate what might be going on, and that good can come out of bad.
– There are some people here who are preaching the gospel out of false motives, perhaps making them look better than others, perhaps out of a sense of competition with Paul, trying to make his imprisonment harder to bear. Paul in response is just glad that the gospel is being preached. What a gracious, Christ-honouring response! (vs.15-18)
We many not connect with Paul’s situation in a straight line kind of way, but we probably do know something of a rivalry or envy between different churches or different Christian groups, where some seem to be doing well, and others struggle. Would we have a similar attitude to Paul, just rejoicing that the gospel is being preached?
– Paul knows his earthly death could be not far away, but he is not afraid of death or worried about dying. In fact he thinks it would be better – ‘For me to live is Christ, to die is gain’ (v.21).
We know that deep down, because that is what the Gospel message and the whole of the Bible story tells us about the Christian, but sometimes we are so tied into our earthly lives that we lose perspective, and think that a Christian’s death is the worst thing ever. Paul reminds us that this is not so, we (and I also mean I, Roger) need a heavenly perspective.
Do pray some of these things through with our heavenly Father today.
And in our Church address list, please remember in your prayers,
– Shirley and family