Imprisoned yet Productive

Apr 27, 2020

As I was reading through the book of Philippians, it struck me that Paul was imprisoned, yet it didn’t stop him from doing the following:

  • Writing a letter – “I am writing to all of God’s people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus…” [Philippians 1:1]
  • Praying for others – “Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy…” [Philippians 1:4]
  • Encouraging Believers – “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” [Philippians 1:6]
  • Loving others – “God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 1:8]
  • Discipling – “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” [Philippians 1:10]
  • Reaching people with the Gospel – “And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ.” [Philippians 1: 12-13]
  • Forgiving – “Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.  But that doesn’t matter…” [Philippians 1:17-18A]
  • Praising God – “…so I will rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.” [Philippians 1:18]
  • Teaching – “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” [Philippians 2:3]
  • Pressing on – “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” [Philippians 3:13B – 14]
  • Being content – “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” [Philippians 4:11-12]

Living alone in this period of lockdown has particularly challenged my faith, but I have come to realise that it is when we selflessly give out that God really blesses all; not only others but us in turn.  Self-pity is a dangerous pit to fall into and one to be avoided at all costs.  It didn’t even cross Paul’s mind to wallow in such an emotion.  No! regardless of the fact he was in chains, in his spirit, he was free.  Free to encourage, free to pray for others, free to reach out with the gospel and free to praise God in the situation.  He demonstrates that there are no limits to what God can do through a yielded soul.  God is unstoppable and if we are in Christ we are too!

 

 

Catherine Ayre.