Anybody who knows me knows that I obsess over the book of Philippians. One verse that catch's my attention each time is 1: 14. It says this: “and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” This verse applied back when it was written and still applies today.
Firstly lets get some background info, Paul was imprisoned in Rome around AD 60 where this epistle was written. It was written to the Roman city of Philippi. It is called the epistle of joy because of how joyful Paul is even in his circumstance. In chapter one, he writes how his imprisonment empowered many Roman Christians to speak out. It also gave them a new vigor for Jesus Christ. He then proceeds to talk about his longing for Heaven and being with Christ forever (1: 21).
To feel the full effect of the prison epistles one must put themselves in Paul's place. That would be a rat-infested cell in which you have a distinct fear that you may never see your loved ones again. That is exactly where Paul is, but in this letter he has incredible joy and strength. It comes from only one, which is Christ. This joy overflows to the people he comes in contact with including his guards. His joy and strength in spirit also effect the population of Christians in Rome. It makes them braver in speaking the Gospel to other Romans. It will help if you think of Paul as if he's living or lived. I know what you are thinking, “Of course, he lived!”, the problem is we don't think of these Bible people as really living.
When you hear about a story like this one doesn't it encourage you, just like the Roman Christians. Paul's story is so amazing that way. He inspires me in that his life was amazingly lived for Christ and that God-breathed some beautiful words through him. He let God ultimately use him in ways that effected the course of eternity in so many lives then and now. The miraculous thing is we can be used the same way.
This is where verse 1:14 comes into play. God was able to use Paul's imprisonment for the furthering of His kingdom. This happens all over the world today and in ways we don't think. We have the chance to be Paul in other peoples lives and they have the chance in ours. He wants us to help and encourage others in their walk with Christ. Paul's great challenge for us is found in 1: 21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Speak words without fear because to live is for Christ!
As always if you need anyone to talk to about anything at all, let us know!