Why the deterrent backfired: Philippians 1:14


"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."

- Philippians 1:14

Paul was arrested and put in chains for sharing his faith. But, somehow, this inspired his friends to become even more bold--which is not the outcome the authorities were hoping for! Arresting Paul was a deterrent that backfired.

Wouldn't you expect Paul's friends to be more cautious after his arrest? What gave them this confidence and fearlessness?

Paul's example might account for this. He kept talking about Jesus and his kingdom, even after the arrest. Paul wasn't crushed by his arrest. Why should they be?

But on top of that, Paul and his friends saw themselves as living within a bigger story (notice "in the Lord"). In this story, God himself suffered arrest and indignity and crucifixion ... and experienced resurrection.

Because suffering happened to Jesus, suffering wasn't a surprise twist in their story. Suffering was expected, like a deep darkness before a certain dawn.  The resurrection on the other side of the darkness was their confidence--confidence, which is essential for joy.

Whose example inspires you in the midst of suffering?

How does an awareness of and confidence in God's bigger story (in which dawn always follows darkness) influence the way you experience suffering? 

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1 Comment

I admire a friend of mine who had brain cancer. He fought a long battle, but was upbeat and inspiring and all who knew him were blessed. He was an awesome human being. He did not complain. I admire people who don't complain....

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