Why We Can Embrace Our Difficulties
The words “joy” or “rejoice” appear 15 times in the short book of Philippians. But when the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the believers at Philippi, he was sitting in a prison…not exactly happy circumstances. During Paul’s imprisonment, he was unable to proclaim Christ in the synagogues as he usually did; he was – by all appearances – left on the sidelines. However, as Paul himself identified, his persecution caused others to take up the mantle of proclaiming the gospel. And in this Paul finds joy.
This would be a life-lesson in and of itself. But Paul’s situation gets even worse. Some people were preaching Christ out of competition, trying to rival the chosen Apostle. And yet Paul still found – even chose – to rejoice. Why? Because all that mattered to him was that Jesus was proclaimed. And since God’s glory was Paul’s whole motivation, it didn’t matter the role he played.
How do you respond to difficulties that leave you feeling like you’ve been left on the sidelines? Like you’ve been forgotten? In those moments, what will be your motivation? Will you live for God’s glory, even when His sovereign direction of your life doesn’t make sense?
Like Paul, you can view your circumstances with joy, not because of your situation, but because of your confidence that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it right up until the day of Christ’s return (Phil 1:6). As you read Philippians 1:12-19, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and to enable you to submit to His sovereign wisdom and care, no matter what difficulties you’re walking through today.