Pondering Philippians: Chapter 1, Verses 12-18
Have you ever experienced something so painful that you swore nothing could be worse? Maybe you’re there now?
Whatever trial you currently find yourself facing, according to Paul, there is something worse. Your pain could be in vain. When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he wanted them to know that there was a purpose behind his suffering.
Let’s face it. Everyone has pain. Maybe you are just entering a very dark season. Or, maybe, you are finally able to see some light. Either way, you need to know that your pain has a purpose.
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. – Philippians 1:12-13
Painful Purpose #1: Point a lost world to Christ
Your pain can be used to advance the gospel. When you hurt, there is a lost world watching.They are looking to see if your mountaintop faith works in the valley. Paul, in the midst of suffering, was very quick to point others to Christ. Sometimes, when pain comes, it is easy to have a big ol’ pity party and invite all your friends. If you do this, however, you are the guest of honor and it is all about you.
Paul reminds his readers that even his pain is all about Christ.
And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. – Philippians 1:14
Painful Purpose #2: Encourage fellow believers.
Even in pain, you do not walk alone. Other Christ-followers walk the path beside you.
When your fellow believers see you continue to praise Christ in the midst of your pain, it gives them strength to carry on. They see you trust Him for deliverance and they have the courage to do the same.
Paul says that it was because of his very imprisonment that other believers were empowered to preach the gospel. Talk about purpose!
There is no avoiding pain. This is a fallen, broken world and it hurts.
Don’t let your hurt be in vain.
Use the devastation to advance the gospel. The world is watching and they need to see Him.
~~~~Stacy Edwards is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom. You can follow Stacy on Twitter (@sjedwards.)