Others can see our peace most noticeably when our circumstances give little reason to possess it.
I want to back up just a bit. I’m still in chapter one of Philippians and had made it through verse fourteen last Friday with our study. But verse twelve just grabs me-
“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,” (Phil 1:12)
Paul had been through so very much. He recounts it in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches”. (2 Cor 11:24-28)
But he says, here in this letter to the Philippian Christians, “I want you to know, brethren, that these things which happened to me actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil 1:12)
Paul, who famously lived with such peace and contentment, that, if we are honest, we all long to have, looked at things that happened to Him to be the VERY WAYS God would further the gospel!
And, I suspect, if we start looking at our circumstances the very same way, we would experience the very same peace!
Let’s learn to ask the Lord to show us how He can use the hard roads we are walking to further the gospel.
Let’s be mindful that others can see our peace most noticeably when our circumstances give little reason to possess it.
May our trials cause others to want our treasure! And what treasure we have who call Jesus, Lord—
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:7-11)
Friends, I know, I feel it too, my initial reaction is to ask God to fix every trial that comes my way or the way of those I love.
But what if we learn to say instead, “God, help me to glorify you in this hard road” ?
What if we even went on to say, even if it be with wobbly knees and shaky hands, “and Lord, please don’t remove it, help me walk through it, if your glory is best reflected with it rather than without it.”
Those aren’t easy words to pray.
But when we our hearts can say this, RIVERS of peace flood our souls, and the enemy loses ground, others are drawn to our peace, and the gospel advances!
Oh friends, to God be the glory in us and through us! What praise He alone deserves! May everything that comes our way be simply a vessel by which others may see Jesus and give Him glory!!
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As always, your prayers are so appreciated as I study and write. To God be the glory!