To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2016 Issue – Straight from the Heart, ‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’ Philippians 1:7
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Philippians 1:12-14 (NIVUK): ”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.”
Selwyn says some interesting things in today’s study: “Paul had instilled into the first Christians the truth that they could do more with trouble than just endure it: they could use it. How different from the general run of thinking in the Church today. We expect that the good be exempt from trouble.
We can take hold of whatever comes, be it bad, good or indifferent, and with God’s help transform what might have been a setback into a spring board.”
In Romans 8:28, we hear Paul say: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
In all things, includes those things which are bad or indifferent; we can have the confidence that God works through us, for our good, as well as those who are in our faith community. We can see this outcome in today’s reading, Paul’s supporters become more confident in the Lord when they witness his work for the gospel – even when he is in chains.
In the Old Testament, we have the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers and he suffered in a number of ways before he eventually rose to power in Egypt. This is what he said to his brothers after the death of their father, Israel (Genesis 50:20): “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
In our Christian walk there will be times when things don’t go too well and setbacks may occur; but have the confidence that Jesus is always working for the good of all His people, and never give up!