Sunday, October 6, 2013

Far Better

I love to read from the Apostle Paul in the Letter to the Philippians. The man is in prison and is corresponding with friends who are doing so very well in their newfound faith. He knows not whether he will be released; whether in fact his life is near the end.
Paul states that he is in a challenging place between two desires; whether to depart and be with his Lord , or to remain as mentor and prayer supporter of the Philippians and many others. He states that the first option is “far better” and holds no fear for him. He believes however that his mission is not quite over. Paul realizes that for so long as his assignment remains incomplete, he is immortal.
Indeed at Lystra he had been stoned and left for dead (Acts 14). But God raised him up and the missionary journeys continued. The extent of his afflictions has been fully recorded in 2 Corinthians 11. He counts it all joy to be “poured out” as an offering for the edification of his family of faith.
While in custody he notes that his supporters are steeled in their determination to spread the Gospel. He also notes that his captors are speaking of his strange ethic in a spirit of mockery, envy and disdain. This is of no real concern to him; in fact he takes it as a further advancement of the Kingdom. The Word of the Gospel cannot be defeated. Its deposit in the hearts of the Philippians can only work unto victory and Christ-like community and service:

Philippians 1: 27. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

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