Whether we like it or not, the reality is that there will always be new challenges that we have to hurdle.
In Philipians 4:13, Paul wrote “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
Why was Paul praying for strength? What were the challenges of Paul in Philipians? Let us learn what Paul did when he faced challenges.
First, the challenge of being in chains.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi while he was in chains. Paul turned this challenge into a blessing. There are three things that Paul listed here.
Philippians 1:12 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”
Because of Paul’s imprisonment, he became a writer. The most successful ministry of Paul was his writing ministry. 48% of the books in our New Testament are from Paul. These are the letters of Paul that were mostly written while in prison.
Philippians 1:13 “As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”
Paul shared the Gospel to the guards. He could have been bitter and blame the Lord. Instead he saw it as an opportunity to share the Gospel.
Philippians 1:14 “Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”
The other Christians were inspired by what happened to Paul. They were now ready to become martyrs also for the sake of the Gospel. They could have said also to themselves that Paul could do it while in prison, why not us who are not in prison.
Second, the challenge of conflicts in the church.
Philippians 4:2 “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.”
These two women had an interpersonal relationship that affected the church. Just imagine that the names of these two women are in the Bible because of their interpersonal conflict.
Conflicts are inevitable. It is bound to happen. We are all human beings. There are many churches that were divided because of interpersonal conflicts. But what can we do? What is the advice of Paul?
We must put into heart the advice of Paul written in Philipians 2:1-5 “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:”
God gave Paul the strength to hurdle the challenges in his life. Because of this we are assured that God will also strengthen us as we face the challenges that will surely come our way.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on