Don't Whip Yourself
Took a drive for my workplace yesterday morning and enjoyed a radio broadcast from Charles Stanley's "In Touch" program. He was looking at Paul's situation when he wrote the "jail-house" epistles, claiming that his unfortunate circumstances were working out to the spreading of the Gospel. This was all that mattered to Paul and consequently he could affirm that he lived above the difficult circumstances. (See the first chapter of Philippians or 2 Corinthians 11)
Here was an exceptional servant of Christ in custody as an enemy of the empire. He could have wallowed in self-pity or struggled with self-doubt. Instead he focused on the good results which were becoming apparent from this bad situation. He knew that he was in the will of his Master. He knew that the Lord was all love and all capable. He knew that every aspect of his situation was known to Christ. There are no words of anxiety, discouragement or self-condemnation in these epistles.
Every day Paul was allowed visitors while under vigilant Roman guard, and the guards were coming under conviction and getting saved. They had to keep an eye on this special prisoner; they had to listen to what he was saying to his friends; they dare not fall asleep. It became necessary to change these guards frequently because of the impact of the prisoner upon them. Many of these Romans would be sent out to other areas of the Empire spreading the message which they had heard from the man who had appeared so victoriously triumphant over adverse circumstances because of Christ.
So when we find ourselves facing limitation or adversity we must follow the example of Paul. He knew that salvation did not bring an unconditional ticket to "easy street". He knew that he was in the right place with his Saviour (any sin having been confessed and covered). He chose to be on the lookout for the good things which would be coming out of the bad situation.
I needed to hear this message. Thank you Dr. Stanley. (www.intouch.org)
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I'm in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they've learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.