I have been really challenged by Philippians 1:12-14 where Paul talks about how being in prison has served to advance the gospel. This is through him: (1) having access to a different group of people such as his guards (v13); (2) other believers hearing about his ministry whilst in chains and being encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly (v14); (3) writing whilst in prison (e.g., Philippians) which continues to speak to billions of Christians today.
At times when I could barely leave the house due to poor energy, mobility and mental health (more on that here) it did feel as though I was in a type of prison. It was really tough, the last thing I wanted to do a lot of the time was tell people about Jesus, I often wanted to wallow in self-pity and tell people I did see about how hard my life was. Given this I find it extremely challenging to read Paul’s account of prison in Philippians 1: 12-26 where his situation advanced God’s kingdom.
Paul found himself in an incredibly difficult situation yet he chose to make the best of it, take the opportunities presented to him and ultimately seek to glorify God in it. He reached out to those he was in contact with and focused on what he could do rather than on what he couldn’t do. This is helpful because if you are in a prison of poor health; you may have a low capacity and a small circle of people you influence; but you can still live your life to glorify God. I write more about being a light for Jesus when very sick here.
Do I make the most of opportunities I have in my present situation to advance the gospel? Who do I have more empathy for given my experiences? How could I reach out to them? Do I have opportunities to encourage others going through difficult times by sharing my testimony of what God has done when I have? Am I taking them?
So my prayer for you and me is that we would seek to use whatever situation we find ourselves in today to advance the gospel