20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26 And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.
Live as Citizens of Heaven 27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.
18-21So how am I to respond? I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I'm going to keep that celebration going because I know how it's going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don't expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose.
22-26As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
27-30Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people's trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they're up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You're involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.
So sorry that I am so late in getting this posted. I slept 9 straight hours last night, though so, Hallelujah for that!
Going into verse 20, Paul says that he expects and hopes that his life will always honor Christ wheteher he lives or dies. To Paul, living meant fruitful service for Christ. Living was not about his comfort or what he wanted to do on his time off, he did not take time off, he was dedicated to fruitful service for Christ. All of the time! He doesn't want to do anything that is going to cause him shame, he wants to always be bold for Christ, wheter he lives or dies.
21- Living is for Christ, and dying is even better. If he lived he could do more good spreading the Gospel but if he died that would be the greatest testimony of faith. To boldly proclaim Christ while losing your life! Something we should all strive for. Stronger faith.
22- If he lives, that means fruitful service for Christ. I know that I don't look at my life that way. I don't see it as an opportunity to do more for Christ. I am beginning to but I have SO far to go!
23-26: He wants to live but he wants to go and be with Christ. It is better for Paul that he be with Christ but better for the people if he lives so that they will grow and become joyous in their faith. So that they will have so much more to boast about (what Christ Jesus has done).
24- What is our purpose for living? Who can we serve or help?
27- We fight this fight together-click here- pretty self explanatory!
28- Don't be intimidated by your enemies. They are going to be destroyed, but you are going to be saved!
29- Suffering for Christ is a PRIVILEGE!!! How often do we count it as such?
30- We are in this fight together- Paul says this twice. He STRESSES it!! We are not to fight among ourselves. We are to love, serve, and build each other up. We are in conflict with anyone who talks against Christ Jesus. ALL true believers are in this fight together and we should be united against Satan in our war with him!
Denise & Sarah had some comments on the last post that I want to share with you today. They really gave me a lot to think about!
Denise- " Paul is stuck in prison while others try to steal his glory by evangelizing. Motives matter, but we should focus on the ultimate goal and not our opponents."
This is the jist of it, I think. We get so off track when someone does something to upset us, when someone is conniving or fake and we know it! All of that matters to Christ and we should not just act like it doesn't but we often forget one major detail, Christ knows their motives. It doesn't matter what their motives are, Christ knows and he is capable of dealing with it! But no matter the motive, Christ is preached and he will be glorified! We should focus on spreading the Gospel and not on what everyone else is doing along the way. This really got me to thinking about a lot of things going on in my own life right now and how I am reacting to certain people and certain situations. I am not to proud of myself right now. I am not happy with how I have chosen to respond. It's pretty ugly.
Sarah - " It's like the common quote, "Life is 10 % what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." Really is a huge reminder that God can use any situation to His glory!"
We make so much out of our situations. We whine and cry and carry on about things that while important and hard to deal with, are not what it is all about. We lose our focus so many times! It is ALL about Christ! He CAN and WILL use any situation to His glory! We think that we will never make it through a certain situation. We underestimate Christ and we underestimate ourselves. HE will give us the strength if we just ask him and hand it over to Him!
I also found this quote that I would like to share with you: " No matter how we have been treated by other Christians we are still all Christians. We all have the same goal, to spread the Gospel. We may still hurt but God is bigger than all of that. He is bigger than the pain!" "It is not about our comfort. We are to die to self daily and then we will be working in harmony with the Holy Spirit along with those who may have hurt us." Rick Warren, author of Purpose Driven Life.
I thought that those quotes summed up the entire book of Philippians pretty well!
Have a Blessed weekend!!!
Love and Prayers, Ya'll are such a blessing to me!!!
* I am reading Chapter 2:1-11 Monday and I will post on it probably Tuesday morning, enjoy your weekend and your break!!!