But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Philippians 1:18
Boy, am I guilty tonight! Guilty for never having seen this before! I have read the book of Philippians what must be a thousand times (o.k. maybe not a thousand, but more than any other book in the Bible for sure). And tonight before going to bed, I began my 1,001st journey through this book. I couldn’t wait to share what popped off the pages.
Setting the stage, here’s Paul in prison. Uncertain of what is to come, wrestling in his heart and mind of the value of continuing to live on this earth versus the gain obtained by dieing and being with Jesus. I must admit — a worthy consideration. But, as have I, Paul had decided that much joy was to be brought to the people through his ministry and for that reason he rejoiced in living.
Noble as it may be, his words in describing the spread of God’s word due to his being in chains invoked a sense of frustration to many. But Paul did not seem overly concerned by the preaching taking place by others out of “envy and rivalry” — clearly with false motives. When I came to this verse I suddenly paused. Backed up a few verses and tried it again. As I came up on these verses a second, and even a third time, I slowed down like I had just bogged my truck into deep mud. It didn’t translate in my mind quite right and I wasn’t going to allow it to just run off my back.
How could Paul not be concerned with the spread of the Gospel by those who were preaching with selfish ambitions? Knowing that the heart of man who spoke these words was filled with envy and rivalry . . . how was that ok? And as I layed here and thought and allowed the Spirit to shed some light on me a few things came to mind . . .
God is God isn’t He? God used Paul, God used David, God used Cain, God used Judas, God used Peter, God used the harlot, God used the leper, God used the dead, God used the broken, God used the lame, God used the blind, God used a Jew who slopped with pigs, God used a murderer on the cross next to Him . . . God is using YOU and God is using ME to be an ambassador of the Gospel . . . and it’s ok!
Listen, I never do anything out of envy, rivalry and never have false motives, right? No way Hosea! (Sorry if your name is Hosea, there’s no connection!)
But that’s just it! Even in our weakness He IS STRONG!!!
My God, forgive me for my false motives, envy and the list from here is perhaps far too long. In my weakness Lord BE my strength! I know that your Gospel can be carried by the most disgusting and least of any you should choose and it will still be the same Gospel given by the clean shaven! You are the same today, yesterday and forever and your name is above every name!!
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. II Corinthians 12:9