Philippians 1:12-14(NIV):12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 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 fear.
From the text today, we find Paul “in chains for Christ.” Paul is imprisoned, not because of an actual crime that he committed, but rather he is confined because of his courage to proclaim the gospel. And from scripture we know that the “whole palace guard” knows the truth behind Paul’s imprisonment. What seems like a hopeless situation for Paul and the spread of the gospel has actually served to be a springboard for the gospel to be presented to the “whole palace guard.” Paul trusted that God would take what seemed to be a hopeless situation and turn it into something that would introduce new people to Christ and ultimately glorify God. Paul did not let his chains keep him from doing what God had called him to do.
Romans 8:28 (NIV): And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
What are the chains that are holding you back from being what God has called you to be or do?
- Is it the chains of fear? Fear of what others will think about you or say about you?
- Are you shackled with chains of doubt? Do you doubt that God can work miracles when it seems all hope is lost?
- Is it chains of dependency upon something other than God?
- Are you chained to an addiction and doubt the power of God to help you overcome your addition?
If you read the Bible, you will find that God’s greatest power and work is displayed when human beings are at their weakest point. God prefers to work in this way, so that you and I, and the world will know, the true power behind the miracle. Only God has the power to transform lives in such a way that everyone will know that is only by the power of God that such a drastic change has taken place. I wonder if even Paul could have imagined how even his imprisonment could not stop the spread of the gospel.
Think for a moment about Paul’s followers. They have heard that Paul is in prison and what did it cause them to do? Did they become afraid to proclaim the gospel? No! Our text tells us that “because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Notice that the text reads, “most of the brothers.” Not everyone had the necessary faith and trust in God to continue proclaiming the gospel. These were people who were still battling their chains of fear and doubt.
What chains do you need to break free from today? Pray that God will give you the courage, and the trust and faith in him, to break free from whatever chains are preventing you from being all that God created you to be. Remember that God does his best work when we are at our weakest point.