Focus on GOD and you be an all time Winner
Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for CHRIST. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the LORD and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15 It is true that some preach CHRIST out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. 17 The former preach CHRIST out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, CHRIST is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and GOD’s provision of the SPIRIT of JESUS CHRIST what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always CHRIST will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Paul did not picture himself as a victim. Despite tremendous physical discomfort and emotional turmoil, he believed he was under GOD’s sovereign hand. So instead of growing resentful and walking away from the faith, the apostle turned to the LORD and continued to mature spiritually.
We can learn much from Paul—He was determined to focus on GOD’s sovereignty rather than his own will. It’s easy to be bitter over the mayhem that another person has caused in our lives. However, the minute we start thinking that our enemies are in control, we’re defeated. The Bible says that GOD “has established HIS throne in the heavens, and HIS sovereignty rules over all” (Ps. 103: 19 The LORD has established HIS throne in heaven, and HIS kingdom rules over all.). HE is in absolute control. We may not understand HIS reasons for permitting hardship or pain in our lives, but HIS plan is always for our good and HIS glory (Jer. 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.).
Moreover, true believers can learn from Paul’s commitment to focus on positive results rather than on personal agony. Pain, whether in the body or the heart, often absorbs all of a person’s attention. But there is no victory to be had in dwelling on our hurts. GOD has a plan for that anguish, and Paul is a good example. He rejoiced when the gospel spread to the Praetorian Guard—his jailers.
Difficult circumstances are crossroads in the believer’s life. If we take the path of blaming GOD for our strife, we’ll be dealing with resentment and negativity. But if we focus on our heavenly FATHER’s love and provision (- “For GOD so loved the world, that HE gave HIS only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life”. John 3:16), we will find trust and hope as we seek to go HIS way.