Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Philippians 1:3-14 (NRSV)
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians begins with an incredibly poetic and endearing greeting. It is evident that Paul’s relationship with this congregation was full of love and respect. As the letter continues, we discover that Paul had been imprisoned because of his faith. He almost seemed to be happy about being in prison because it was helping to spread the gospel.
Like a good leader, Paul sought to reassure the Philippians that, although he missed them, he was okay. He encouraged them to remain faithful and to speak more boldly about their faith as they shared the good news.
Through the centuries, many Christians have endured incredible hardships in service to God. Felicitas and Perpetua (early Christian martyrs), Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., represent the millions who have sacrificed to share God’s word. They stood tall so that we may see a brighter future and a changed world. Today, take time in prayer to express gratitude for those who have endured hatred for the sake of Christ. May we also pray that we will speak boldly for Jesus.
Lord, we pray with hearts of gratitude for those you have called to speak your gospel. Some were imprisoned and even killed for your name. We pray that your Holy Spirit will give us the strength to be courageous for your name. May our words and deeds reveal your love, and may the way we live bring glory to your name. Amen.
Go with God.