I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. – Philippians 1:12 (ESV)
These words were inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by the Apostle Paul. This was most certainly true in his life. He was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked…you get the idea. And through all of this, Paul realized that what was happening to him had a greater purpose. He knew that God was using the events of his life were furthering the gospel.
How did that happen? In many ways. First, we get to read these events as they are recorded in Scripture. These events encourage us and remind us, but most importantly, they serve as a means to share the gospel.
This passage of Scripture is, or should be, true in our lives as well. As followers of Jesus Christ, we should also say, “that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” How does this happen in our lives? Well, in the same way it happened for Paul. We’re not adding to Scripture as Paul did, but the events, circumstances, emergencies, trials and triumphs of our lives should point to Jesus Christ. In our triumphs, we should point to God and His grace. And in our trials and tragedies, we should also point to God and His grace.
I can tell you first hand, neither are easy to do.
In my triumphs, I tend to forget about God until after the fact and then murmur a quiet thank you.
In my trials, I tend to moan and don’t cry out to God until I’ve figured out I can’t do much on my own.
But when we practice “advancing the gospel” in our trials and triumphs, our faith grows and, somehow, we begin to see more clearly God at work in everything. Funny how that works.
So with this, I issue a challenge to all of us in Christ today: Let us use whatever happens in our lives to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.