Today’s blog, written by a former staff at Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 7, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”
Lest you think that Paul’s imprisonment here refers to some sort a minimum-security prison, note that the word imprisonment is translated in chains in other English translations. This refers to a “short length of chain by which the wrist of a prisoner was bound to the wrist of the soldier who was his guard, so that escape was impossible” (William Barclay).
Having squared that way, here, we start to hit on the theme of attitudes; that is, in a given circumstance, what should my internal response be? We see here that Paul is no longer able to preach the gospel publicly because of his imprisonment. In the wake of this, others have risen up to proclaim the gospel; some with the right motives, while others, for the wrong motives.
It would be a natural response for Paul to be angry or bitter that while he is unable to preach publicly, others, who are immature and ungodly, are preaching the gospel with the wrong motive of trying to outshine Paul. Yet, Paul’s response is supernatural; he rejoices that Christ is being proclaimed!
This situation Paul faced raises several personal questions to us. What is our attitudes toward people who do “godly work” but with wrong motives? How much have we actually prayed for such people? Do we often find ourselves serving God with the wrong motives? What can be done to correct this? What is robbing you of joy today?
Ask the Lord to restore your joy and claim the joy of Christ for your life as you worship and adore Him today!
Prayer: Thank You, God, for I see what You are doing in my life—to elicit true joy. God, show me where I have become weary that led to joylessness. Strengthen me in this area so that I may be joyous. Lord, I desire to partner with You through Your mighty strength so that I may rejoice in all circumstance Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 8