Now as Always

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I read Philippians 1 last night.  I just can’t get over Paul’s extraordinary faith.  In verses 12-14 he says, “ Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 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.”  Instead of focusing on his suffering, Paul, in the midst of his imprisonment, is able to see that God is being glorified.  A situation that most would see as the worst possible scenario can be seen as “good” because God is being exalted.  I am so humbled by Paul’s testimony.  I don’t think my life will ever be as hard as Paul’s was in this passage yet in verse 18b he says, “Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.”  Even though I have never faced anything as remotely trying as imprisonment, I often tend to struggle to rejoice.  And yet as Paul sits in chains, he finds the good–Christ’s glory–and rejoices.  If I were in his situation, I think I would be more apt to complain.  To tell God that it’s not fair.  This is what I get for following Him?  Instead of pitying himself, Paul is found rejoicing.

Verses 20 and 27 are my favorites in this chapter: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death… Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  It doesn’t matter where we are or what is going on in our life, our aim should be to exalt Christ NOW.  And no matter how hard life may get, glorifying Christ needs to ALWAYS be our goal.  Paul isn’t saying that we only need to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel when everyone else around us is also living in an effort to please Christ; instead, he says WHATEVER HAPPENS.  Glorifying God doesn’t get set aside when I’m being pressured or persecuted.  No.  “Now as always.”  Living for Christ doesn’t get thrown away just because someone has hurt you or because you’re upset.  No.  “Whatever happens.”

What I got out of this chapter last night was that God can use me wherever I am for His glory.  No matter what situation I am in, I should always be rejoicing as I remind myself that God is working this out for “good.”  In the hard times as well as the easier times, glorifying Christ is my purpose in life … now as always, whatever happens.

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