But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
From the outside, Paul’s situation might have seemed bleak. There he was in prison, bound in chains for preaching the Gospel, for his obedience to God’s call upon his life. He had suffered much during his ministry. He had experienced some negative, difficult things. But his attitude doesn’t reflect that. He’s telling the Philippians not to worry about him or what they will have to face. He sees his circumstances as a good thing because he is able to preach the Word where he is, and others have been encouraged to continue preaching and spreading the Gospel, too. Christ is being lifted up and His message proclaimed all because of what Paul is enduring.
Paul was able to see the good from his situation. He understood what was truly important. His freedom wasn’t that important. His location didn’t matter. His service to his Lord is what mattered. His obedience mattered. Spreading the Gospel and preaching Christ mattered. Seeing people saved helping and believers grow were the most important things that Paul could be doing, even from right where he was. Paul’s life was all about Jesus, and so everything else became incidental, in a way.
We have to learn to look for the good that has come from whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. It’s a matter of focus and perspective. It’s about choosing to look for the positive instead of focusing on the negative. It’s not always about looking for a way out, but continuing on where we are and in the midst of things we might not have chosen for ourselves. It’s about keeping our eyes on Jesus and being faithful and obedient no matter what challenges we’re facing.
At those times we find ourselves in a situation in which we’d rather not be, where is our focus? Is it on ourselves and what we don’t like about what is happening to us? Or is it on those good things that result, how it might benefit others and the overall cause of Christ? Can we see the value in continuing on in the tasks God has given us to do wherever we may end up because of that? May we follow Paul’s example and live totally for Jesus, focusing solely on Him, and doing our part in the work He’d have us to do.