Philippians 1: 12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians are prison epistles written by Paul while in prison. He wasn’t a troublemaker, but he got into trouble. He was faithful to the Lord and it brought him trouble. He had the blessing of seeing people saved and churches established. People grew and became leaders in the church. There was a lot of persecution from the Roman Empire. The churches struggled because they were up against a formidable enemy. Each of the apostles bore witness because of their writings to help the churches. In this chapter Paul reminded them they were not behind bars as he was.
Things happen and will every day. Paul wrote to encourage them. We’ve always lived in a time when things happen. Years ago the devil caused trials. Many of the battles then were different than they are now, but the struggles were there. What we face now wasn’t faced years ago. The devil has not taken a break. Paul said that the results of what was happening to him were falling out for the furtherance of the gospel.
People saw other prisoners struggling. Paul prayed. He wrote epistles to the churches. The guards had to see the Spirit of God on him. He turned the jail cell into a pulpit. When he and Silas were in jail they sang and praised God. Even the jailor and his family got saved. God can turn the things that happen, no matter how fearful they seem, into something else. In Philippians 4 Paul said for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Use whatever happens as the opportunity to glorify Jesus Christ. In Philippians 1:20 Paul said according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed. It’s up to us how we deal with what happens to us. Sometimes life closes in. The walls seem to move in on us. All Jesus has to do is put out his arms. Age and time make a difference, but we can still magnify Jesus. Instead of giving up, hang on. The further we take Jesus, the further he will be magnified. That’s why Paul said for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. We can strut around and quote that, but when things happen we get humbled. Things happen but not to separate us from God but for the furtherance of the gospel.
When the end comes, it won’t be the end. Things happen but it doesn’t have to be to our defeat. God happens too!