Have you ever gone through a tough time? What do you do when trials come? What do you do when life gets tough? Is it time to roll over or is it time to stand firm? If I were Paul, and I had been doing to the work of the Lord–traveling to various cities and countries preaching the Word of God and then was arrested, and thrown in jail, to be honest, it might be hard to keep a good attitude. It would be easy to feel sorry for myself or to just give up altogether.
In Philippians 1, I believe that we can learn a lot from Pauls example of what to do when trials come. We live in an imperfect world right now, so we know difficult times will come our way. We see that he was actually writing this letter while “in chains because of Christ” (Phil 1:13). Paul had been doing everything right in His life and ministry: he was traveling, preaching, healing, and ministering, and yet was still imprisoned. You see, we aren’t exempt from hardships, but we do have a choice of what our attitude will be when they come.
Paul had every reason to just say “Well, maybe I missed God somewhere,” or “maybe, this is it for me, my time is up.” Thank goodness this was not his attitude. He did not just give up at the first sight of discouragement, but he was persistent in his calling and in his ministry. In fact, he says that “everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News” (Phil 1:12).
He looked at this trial and persecution he was walking through as a means to continue sharing the Gospel, and even in jail, it continued to spread!! You see, the enemy may try many many things against you in life, but if you have the attitude of being unstoppable and unshakeable for Him, no trial or storm that comes your way will shake you from doing what God has put in you to do.
In the midst of a tough season in His life, Paul saw no excuse in his trial. In fact, He continued to do His writing. He cared so much for the people that he was ministering to that he would never give up, no matter what. Thank goodness He didn’t give up, we would have had several books missing from the Bible if he had. We must strive for this “never give up” attitude that Paul had. No matter what may come, our trust is in Him.
When Paul was in jail, the other believers that were there were strengthened and “gained confidence to boldly speak God’s message without fear” (Phil 1:14). Even in the midst of his trial, He was being used for the glory of God. Let this be a lesson to us, to not let trials shut our mouths, but to make us even bolder for Him.
I want to encourage you today to be like a tree planted with roots so deep that no matter how strong the winds of life may blow, that you will never be moved from what God has for you!
“And I want you to know, my dear brother and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped me to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard know that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.”