so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.–Philippians 1:13
Resolved to look into each trial I face, each situation where someone speaks or does something against me, to see if it takes place because I am following Christ closely or because my own sin against them or someone else.
Now, concerning the resolution above, I realize that sometimes hard situations simply come and neither of these two may be the reason they come. In those times we may or may not know the direct reason those things are taking place. Not every situation can be so dissected successfully, but I believe that, in my own life, I can benefit from doing this much more than I currently do.
What strikes me, in Paul’s case, is that everyone around him knew why he was in this situation, in prison. He did not keep it a secret. He did not suffer in silence, but made it known as far as why he faced this trial and tribulation. But the key to doing this well, to doing this in a godly way, was to have the right perspective. Paul did not put this at the feet of Rome and announce his hatred of them. Rather, he let everyone know that he was there for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Gospel. The same perspective is there in Ephesians 3:1 where Paul says he is a prisoner for Christ Jesus. This leads us to two truths:
- Let it be said, with honesty, that the trials we face are not because of continued unrepentant sins in our lives. 1 Peter 3:14-15 tells us that, if we must suffer, if we must be punished for something by evil men, let it be for righteousness sake, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.
- May we, with joy–not with venom, hatred, or malice–simply express that, in our trials, they are for Christ’s sake. I would argue that we do not honor God, we do not honor Christ, by being silent in suffering. Rather, the Savior is honored when we say, in truthfulness, that our suffering is for His sake. Christ receives glory and honor when He is shown as worthy of our pains. The truth receives greater audience when we are willing to be doubled over in pain for it just as much as we are willing to stand up and shout for it. Honestly, the truth may receive more audience when we are willing to be troubled for it.