‘Sorry to hear about what happened!’ When I hear this, I think of Paul writing to the Philippians. Two years in jail, a long sea voyage as prisoner, now two years in bonds again! This pioneer’s prayers seem unheard and his potential untapped. We would be filled with resentment, regret and remorse. But listen to him: ‘I therein do rejoice… and will rejoice’ (1:18). How could he have this bold, positive attitude?!

Notice how central the Gospel was in Paul’s life! He was so thankful for people’s participation in the Gospel through prayer and financial support (1:5). He realized he was there for the confirmation of the Gospel (7). So, whatever his circumstance his main concern was the advancement of the Gospel (12). He was acutely aware of his divine appointment for the defense of the Gospel (16) and was not ashamed of… contending for the Gospel (20). He was keen that Christians work side by side in the proclamation of and the faith of the Gospel. Above all, no matter what happens, they were to live a life worthy of the Gospel (27). Amidst evangelical scandals and persecution, we need Gospel-driven ministers like Paul to model its saving power!
When bewildered, stressed or disheartened I draw strength from Paul phrase: What does it matter? (18) and then I determine whatever happens (27), because things do happen… disappointments even death! At any rate, we must discern and demonstrate: A) what is best (10) i.e. excellent or Christ-like; B) what is really important (18) viz. sharing Christ and C) what is truly worthy of the Gospel (27).  It’s not what happens to me, but what happens to the Gospel because of me!

Dr. Chris Gnanakan