“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 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 1:12-14
I could talk about this all day. This message is so very personal to my heart. This is what’s going on. Paul has been put in prison, remember from last week? Now he’s telling everybody, “hold up now… this alllll happened for a reason. I’m in the perfect place to show people Jesus.” I mean don’t we all love the biggest testimonies? Which story pulls on your heart more? The homeless girl that graduated with a masters from Harvard or the president’s son that got the same degree? The work is the same, but the impact is just different- even when we don’t want to admit it. Okay.. back to Paul…”because I’m here now it’s no secret that my circumstances suck- but everybody in here can see that God is with me, even the guards that hold me here. Because I’ve had hard times but have remained faithful and unharmed, most everybody here believes in the good, good lord (because they’ve seen it in me) and have zero problem telling everybody else exactly how they feel”
I literally have tears in my eyes as I type…THIS. IS. THE. LIFE. We all have chains y’all. No- were not in a first centurary prison. We are not in the wilderness for 40 days without food or water. We are not being chased into literal caves fleeing from our enemies…. but maybe something in our lives is holding us so far down that we do feel held captive to it, maybe we’re not starving but struggling to buy groceries and meet our bill deadlines, and you may not be hiding from your enemies in caves, but I’d bet you had a few? Chains.
GOD WILL USE YOUR CHAINS.
When we learn to be unaffected by tough circumstances- that’s a testimony. That’s an opportunity for God to “strut His Holy stuff”. If God can turn MY life around, if He can use MY mistakes.. and allow me and my new life… to impact yours? He can literally use anybody. HOW GOOD IS HE? When Jesus changed my heart the way He did, y’all I didn’t understand it. I’ll be completely honest and tell you I still don’t… I felt unworthy, unsure. I questioned Him and tried to make deals with Him about my instructions. “God use me differently. I’ve lived an awful life and even more people think I’ve done even more awful things- even if it’s not real to me it’s real to them so just use me differently. They won’t listen. I don’t know how.” And months later it is so clear to me. He put me here BECAUSE OF MY FILTHY LIFE, not inspite of it. I am the testimony, I am homeless to Harvard. You don’t have to wake up saved and start a mini ministry. Your new name will not look like mine because we are fearfully and wonderfully made, set apart; different. God has individualized a plan for each of us separate from the one before us. Don’t get discourged when you don’t wake up with a wealth of biblical knowledge and can’t quit saying the s word. Faith like a mustard seed it says in the gospels.. you just need a little bit.. just a hint of “want to”. That’s the first domino that wobbles until it falls and sets off this unstoppable train of change!
The point is… wherever you are.. whatever you’re doing love Him. There’s so much to be done right where you are by doing literally nothing outside of just representing a Christian life, just like Paul here in jail. Everybody knew he loved the Lord just by how he acted. A little love for the Lord, and consequently, for His people- just kindness and positivity- can go so far with the lost. It makes people curious about “what does she have that I don’t that makes her just so content?”. As much as you humanly can place yourself in His will. Don’t be afraid of faith. Or maybe you’re afraid of where He will use your faith. Don’t be afraid of that either. God will never EVER ask you to do anything without also giving you what you need. I know what it’s like to be like whatchu say Jesus, naw what about this…. I’m so thankful I took the step anyway. That’s faith. Walking into what you can’t see with confidence in the One who can. Do not be afraid of the call to a Christian life, do not be afraid of the change either.
Now listen, you who say, “today or tomorrow we will go to this city or that city, spend a year there, carry on a business and make money” Why, you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “if it is the Lords will, we will love and do this or that” -James 4:13-15
Every day that passes we’re a day shorter on the clock and we have no idea when it stops. Listen for His voice, respond with His correction, and let Him use your obedience as testimony to share the freedom from our chains, from all this brokenness that only He can undo . Luke chapter 6-46 says why do you call me Lord Lord and then do not do what I say? Y’all calling His name is an empty statement if it never makes a difference in your life.
Call Him. Change you. Save others.
Do it on a bright day, Do it when it’s dark.
I love you guys!