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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Happy In Prison?

Philippians 1:15 "Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will. 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again."
 
Crazy! The guy in prison is writing to those who are free to encourage them. His basic message to them is that there is a reason he is in prison, it is helping the Good News reach people it has never reached before. The officials, the prison guards, everyone he is in contact with are hearing the message. He mentioned that yesterday and now we find out his imprisonment has had another effect in helping spread the knowledge of Jesus.
 
Because he can no longer preach publicly others have stepped up to the plate and are preaching more boldly. Some because they were jealous of Paul and his "fame". Others because they love Jesus and Paul and are stepping up to fill the gap. How does Paul feel about all this? Is he threatened by it? Is he afraid he won't be "the man" anymore? Is he afraid others can't preach like he can? Not in the least because Paul isn't about Paul. Paul is only concerned with one thing. He wants the world to know about Jesus and if him being in prison makes that happen more quickly and/or effectively so be it, even if not all the preachers have the best motive.
 
Clearly the character of Jesus is becoming the character of Paul. Human nature is to be self obsessed. Concern for self is our highest concern. Self preservation is our greatest concern. Not Jesus though. He lived for others and took no thought for Himself. At the end when He had the choice between self preservation or saving us He went boldly to the cross.
 
Paul having experienced the grace and peace that comes from discovering the self sacrificing love of God in Jesus wants nothing but to have others discover the same Jesus and the same grace and peace.
 
An innocent man in prison is happy. That is illogical. Tomorrow we'll discover Paul is highly "abnormal". That's what finding Jesus does. It turns our lives upside down for the better.
 
Whatever comes your way today don't be discouraged. If you're living for Jesus it is all working together for good. Ask God to help you see life and your circumstances the way Paul saw his.

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