14 Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word, fearlessly. 15 To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. 16 These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice 19 because I know this will lead to my salvation, through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Prayer and faith have always been connected. Faith expresses itself through prayer. Answered prayer is the key that unlocks a life of growing faith.
Paul has just finished wording his prayer for the believers in Philippi. It seems that praying for them stirred his faith to rejoice and remind them his “imprisonment is because I am in Christ.” He didn’t want them to be sad for him but wanted them to know the gospel was spreading because of his chains.
Paul had prayed for them to love each other and to grow in righteousness. He could rejoice in their spiritual growth and wanted them to rejoice with him in the ways God was working through his imprisonment.
Pause and consider Paul’s source of joy: Christ preached, and lives changed.
Paul had seen an increase of courage in others as a result of his own willingness to be put in jail for the sake of Christ. It had given those around him courageous faith to share the gospel (good news) of Christ more boldly. He was so encouraged by this he could not contain his joy.
“Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice…” (Philippians 1:18)
God used the deep and resounding faith of Paul to actively encouraging believers everywhere, near and far. Paul’s letter was intended to strengthen the faith and courage of believers in Philippi. His steadfast courage and joy strengthened the believers within proximity of where he was in chains (probably in Rome).
Making the gospel known was Paul’s mission, and he knew the source of his strength was God working through believers’ prayers.
Knowing this “secret of strength”, Paul prayed for the believers and they prayed for him even when they weren’t physically together. We know this because Paul was in prison and they were in Philippi. Through prayer and encouragement, they each stirred up confidence in one another. Their partnership in grace (Philippians 1:7), through fervent prayer, was the means by which Paul and others were able to share the gospel with fearless faith.
Let’s pause and pray fervently for fearless faith together. Let’s believe God for greater boldness in sharing with others what He’s done for us. Let pray for others to have that kind of boldness too.
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