Philippians 1:12 (NLT) “I want you to know…that everything that has happened to me has helped to spread the Good News”
A big trap to Happiness is “When & Then” thinking… “When something happens, Then I will be happy.” But, if you live by “When & Then” thinking, negative things like pain, pressure and problems and even negative people, become a barrier to happiness.
The Apostle Paul experienced many problems in his life, which was devoted to the Lord’s work! It goes to show living for Christ is not the easy pathway in life, often it will attract more problems, more pressure, and more difficult people!
But none of these are reasons not to pursue a life dedicated to serving the Lord. One thing that Paul teaches is to look at every problem from God’s perspective.
Paul says:“I want you to know…that everything that has happened to me has helped to spread the Good News” (NLT)
Paul was in prison. He was chained to a prison guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week – how uncomfortable and difficult would that be… for those prison guards! Yes, those prison guards because they now had no choice but to listen to Paul share the good news of the gospel to them.
And that’s precisely what Paul did!
Now, ultimately, God put him in that prison to write all those letters which became two-thirds of the New Testament! Paul wanted to evangelize Rome, but God wanted to reach the World. But in the immediate, Paul wasn’t going to waste one day, he was going to continue being a witness and an encouragement.
And these are two great reasons why God wants you to endure through problems, because when you face problems in faith:
1. It is a “Witness” to unbelievers – all the soldiers in the prison guard knew why Paul was in chains, it was for the gospel. (Philippians 1:13)
2. It is an “Encouragement” to Believers – because Paul was in prison, and boldly taking a stand for Jesus, many other believers gained confidence and boldness for the Lord! (Philippians 1:14)
Often, it’s your ‘battle scars’ rather than your victories, that is a greater encouragement to other people and believers. Everybody experiences problems, pain, setbacks and trouble, and everyone dislikes it. But when you know others have gone through or are going through similar situations; it helps you to carry the right perspective.
Whatever problem, pressure or pain you are experiencing, ask God to show you His perspective on the matter and how He wants you to respond to it. Your prayer needs to be:
“Lord, let me see it from Your perspective”.
And the Lord will show you – often it relates to developing character, overcoming weaknesses, growing in your trust and faith, which all play a part in being Spirit-led, rather than led by the flesh; selfless rather than selfish and kingdom minded rather than a worldly Christian.