12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
This chapter of Philippians is a thank you letter that Paul wrote from prison to the Philippians for their encouragement to him in the work of the gospel. He describes that His imprisonment is nothing they should be worried about, because his suffering is actually part of God’s plan to advance the gospel. Can you imagine how many guards heard the gospel straight from Paul himself? Philippians 4:22 indicates many of these came to know Christ because these elite guards were part of Caesar’s regiment of guards. Advancing the gospel sometimes means laying our lives down for the sake of building up the kingdom. Christians are to surrender their lives in service to Christ Jesus. And what should Christians expect in this life for doing this? Sometimes it can mean suffering. Paul explains that there are two things granted by God for a believer. The first is to believe in Him and the other is to suffer. This truth is hard to hear at times, but it is necessary.
Throughout our lives, we will all experience painful and difficult situations, and they may be hard to understand at times, but we are to see these situations as a way to bring glory to God and trust that it is all part of His plan to expand His kingdom. Being a Christian will be hard some days, but Christ is sufficient for us and He will carry us through these hard times. We can trust that he will be glorified through our sufferings.
What are some ways that you have endured suffering in your walk as a Christ- follower? Have you seen God glorified in these circumstances—have others seen the reality of your faith in your hard times?