As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Philippians 1:13
Listen: Philippians 1
This weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion highlighted how the Apostle Paul is stuck in an extremely uncomfortable place. The imprisoned Paul was under military guard, which meant he was probably chained directly to a Roman soldier. Paul could not make a move or use the restroom without the guard’s permission or presence. Paul is robbed of mobility, freedom and variety of scenery. Additionally, Roman officials typically required prisoners to pay for their own needs including rent, food, clothing and bedding. Paul has no way of paying for these items while in prison, so he is most likely reliant on the goodwill and generosity of his friends to provide.
Yet, Paul says his chains are actually advancing the gospel. In other words, he’s stuck, but the gospel isn’t. The people around him are hearing his prayers, correspondence and interactions and choosing to follow Christ! Paul responds so surprisingly because he is asking an extraordinary question we generally don’t ask. We often ask, “when am I going to get out?” As in “…when will the cancer go away,” “…when will my son come back,” or “…when will the offer on a house be accepted?” The extraordinary question Paul was asking is, “How can Christ’s name be known and his reputation honored in my current situation?” These are radically different questions.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Grab your journal, turn to page 18, and write down the uncomfortable place you find yourself in today. Offer an open-handed prayer to God asking him to help you release control and receive his strength and comfort to honor him—regardless of the outcome.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.