Reading: Philippians 1:12-14
I want to tell you, brothers, that my current situation has actually helped the progress of the gospel. So it has become known among all the guards and others that I am in chains for the sake of Christ. Most of the brothers in the Lord, encouraged by my chains, now dare even more to preach God’s word.
Reflection: Paul writes this passage from a Roman prison. In Philippians 1:13, he reveals that he is imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. The reason for his arrest was a violation of the command not to bring foreigners into the temple (Acts 21:28 // 24:6 // 25:8). The Philippians were saddened by his situation, but he writes to remind them that the preaching of the Gospel has not diminished. While in prison, his speeches were heard by the entire Praetorian Guard and many others. At the same time, many were encouraged and began to spread the Good News. Although he is in chains, he seems to live in complete freedom and does not concern himself with the motives of other preachers. What matters to him is the spread of God’s Word.
Paul writes this letter to his brothers in the Lord. “Brothers in the Lord” comes from the Greek word “adelphoi,” which means believers, members of God’s family. This letter does not carry an air of formality but radiates warmth. Such is Paul’s heart. Despite being in prison, he is joyful. He has dedicated his entire self and life to God, including his own freedom; he suffers so that the Good News may be spread. His focus is on God. Paul is an exceptional example of an obedient and faithful servant of God with a changed and completely different approach to life. He refuses to complain, be disappointed, or seek justice for his situation; instead, he chooses joy over bitterness. He places himself last so that Christ may be first. He is happy when God’s Word reaches the hearts of others. Therefore, imprisoned, condemned, and rejected, Paul does not let circumstances prevent him from fulfilling his calling. Matthew also writes: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me! Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” Paul lives to glorify God. He does not give up until he has given everything, even at the cost of his own life. In Philippians 3:14, he boldly declares: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Today, we are called to bring glory to Christ and be His rock, looking at life from a different perspective and, with faith, hope, and love for Jesus Christ, changing the circumstances of situations. May our gaze always be directed towards the One who breaks our chains and brings eternal freedom!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in whom the price for human freedom has been fully paid. May Christ be the essence of our existence, and we pray that the purpose of our life is to glorify and proclaim Him, the Good News, despite various life circumstances. Remind us of our calling and direct our gaze toward the One whose name is eternal freedom.