…my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel…
Philippians 1:7 NKJV
Paul wrote this from prison, “…my chains are in Christ…” (Philippians 1:13) Paul did not feel bound by the restraints of prison because his chains were in Christ. As for us today, we need not necessarily be in prison to feel imprisoned and hopeless. Maybe some circumstances, such as an illness or lack of a particular skill may leave one feeling as though they are trapped, unable to live with joy or accomplish something of value. Oh how discouraging this can be. I have to ask, how is it that someone in prison could write a book about “Joy?" The Apostle Paul did just that. The book of Philippians is often called “The Book of Joy,” which was written by Paul from prison. Spend some time studying the book of Philippians and one could discover some clues. In this post however, I am going to focus on just one of them. Paul saw being in prison as an opportunity to glorify the Lord because his chains were in Christ, not the prison.
I know if I was in prison, I would not be a happy camper. However Paul had an entirely different attitude. Paul rejoiced in the work Jesus was doing through his circumstances instead of being discouraged over what he was going through. Paul set his eyes upward on the Lord and outward on other people, not inward and self pity. Paul took the attitude “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain…” (Philippians 1:21) and counted all things he lost as rubbish for the knowledge of Christ. (See Philippians 3:8) Because Paul’s chains were in Christ, he trusted the Lord through the trials he faced and the Lord used him greatly. This brought Paul great joy.
“so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ Philippians 1:13 NKJV
“and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Philippians 1:14 NKJV
“…Christ is preached; in this I rejoice, yes, I rejoice.”
Philippians 1:18b NKJV
When one chooses living for Christ regardless of the circumstances, God will use their life for His good purposes. God’s purposes are always good. Whatever situation we are going through, it is only temporary and God will work it for good. Another wonderful thing, one may rejoice through the situation which they face because many lives may be changed. The hurting may be comforted. The lost may come to know the Lord. God will use us to advance His kingdom if we are a willing vessels trusting the Lord while having faith that He knows what He is doing.
When I choose living for Christ, advancing the Gospel and glorifying Christ becomes my main mission in life. I can live to advance my wealth, fame, popularity, have more fun, or live a more comfortable life, all of which is only temporary. One day, all the earthly things I build will all come to an end. But the treasure I store up in heaven will last forever. What is going to be my main mission in life? Remember Jesus said, “I have come to give life, and to give it more abundantly.” (See John 10:10) If I choose developing the attitude of Paul’s, how can I fail in life? Jesus will be with me. It is not by my strength I succeed, it is by God’s strength and Jesus working through me that I succeed. Through Christ, I have an abundant life, regardless of the circumstances I may face in life.