Have you ever had the worst thing in the world happen to you, and then wondered where God was in all of it? Or maybe you asked yourself one of these questions, What am I’m supposed to learn from this? How did this help God out?
Happy Memorial Day! Today we’re going to our next verse in Philippians. If you are just joining our blog, welcome! I am so excited for you! We are covering Philippians at a pace of one or two verses a day. (Note to our Newbies: Click here to go back to the first verse in Phil. and catch up. As we get through chapter one, I’ll give it its own page like I’ve done for the book of Ephesians.)
Here’s our verse.
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things [which happened] unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” KJV
This has me asking all sorts of questions like. Where was Paul? What “things” made the gospel go further?
To answer our first question, Paul was in prison. We know that he was in prison twice in his life and Philippians could’ve been written at either time, though experts suspect that it wasn’t when he had his posh prison home that he tended by himself. This one was when he was in a cell. Roman cells didn’t look anything like the plush living quarters our prisoners live in today.It was cramped, dirty and more than likely had lice, bugs, rats and yuck! Even if that wasn’t the case, and he had his own cell, life wasn’t peachy. If Paul looked around him he might wonder where God’s abundance and prosperity were? Instead the verse above dwelled in his thoughts.
In spite of everything Paul was going through, his thoughts circled to the gospel and how God was pressing forward. Imagine for a moment what kind of renewed mind discipline the man had to keep this kind of positive and loving heart. He was so addicted and sold out to God, that when ever anything happened he was always looking for God’s silver lining. There’s a difference between God’s silver lining, and mankind’s silver linings. We tend to think only of the physical circumstances. God knows everything. The only way to know what God’s silver lining is to ask Him. How did Paul know about the furtherance of the Gospel? Because God told him.
Sometimes it takes us forcing our will to stop and ask God, how is this situation furthering the gospel?
In Paul’s case there were plenty of reasons. Here is verse 13…
“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other [places];”
Their society was built around “word-of-mouth” advertising. You can bet that when Paul, the moving and shaking Apostle, was put in the slammer, word got out. Everyone from the palace maids and courtiers to the bakers and farmers were talking about him. Some asked, “Now, who is Paul, and why is he in jail?” At that moment, the gospel was spread because everything about Paul was a juicy bit of God’s Work here on earth. The Devil stepped on his own toe because of the ruckus it caused. Some believed the bad rumors and just went on with life, others wanted to know more and found out the truth. Wow! Talk about a back fire on the devil. Wouldn’t our nation be up in arms if we heard that Billy Graham was imprisoned by our government for no obvious reason? It’d make every front page newspaper in the country. How much does the news talk about God? In quarters where God is never mentioned, He’d be the hottest topic. Do you see why Paul thought this way?
Today, God set us up with our first amendment called, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Rome didn’t have that rule. These days if a minister is put in prison, it isn’t over his beliefs; at least in our country. We have a beautiful set up and opportunity to further the gospel. The big trick today is, we have to watch for God’s silver linings. We have to look for and ask for what He’s doing here spiritually. Sometimes we don’t see obstacles as these kind of opportunities but they can be.
God bless you today!