“I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel.” Phil. 1:12
The witness of those who suffer for the sake of Christ is powerful.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned for the faith. He could have complained about his lot. He could have lashed out on the authorities for imprisoning him. Instead, he rejoiced that this presented an opportunity for Christ to be boldly proclaimed.
Adversity presents a powerful occasion for the gospel to be proclaimed. The Christian community in Asia has experienced persecution for years. Many had thought it would result in the end of Christianity in that part of the world. Instead, the opposite has happened. Christ’s kingdom has been growing and expanding in unprecedented ways.
In contrast, it is relatively easy to be a follower of Christ in the U.S. and Europe. There may be moments, but for the most part, we certainly do not fear being tortured or imprisoned. And what is happening? The Christian community is in decline. We think that passing laws to make our lives as Christians easier would result in kingdom expansion, but the opposite is true. We complain about the inconvenience of getting out of bed on Sunday mornings.
There is nothing like the witness of a follower of Jesus in the midst of hardship. What is your witness like when you are facing adversity?
Lord God, thank you for the witness of those who live their faith in times of adversity. Help me to follow their example. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Full Reading: Philippians 1:12-18a
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