Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20 NIV
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:22-25 NIV
Paul and Silas are in a Philippian prison, in the very innermost cell, fastened with their feet in the stocks all night, and they are praying and singing hymns to God. The other prisoners heard their prayers and singing. Why do you think these men were able to pray and sing while in this situation?
I think the book Paul later wrote to the church in Philippi has the answer. Paul and Silas had a Biblical and an eternal perspective. Paul and Silas knew God’s desire for them – was to share the gospel in any and all circumstances. For these men, it did not matter if they were preaching in a synagogue (Acts 14:1), beside a river (Acts 16:13), or in prison (Phil. 1:12-13). Their job was to proclaim the gospel of Christ in any circumstance. Later, when Paul was under house arrest in Rome, he said, “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.
So, what about us? Have you found yourself in a difficult situation and just didn’t feel like praising God in the midst of it? I know I have, but I personally have found if I take a step back, – look at our faithful God – my perspective can change. Lamentations 3:21-26 says, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
The simple act of singing praise to our faithful God, whose love for us is unfailing can calm our spirit, realign our perspective and give us hope. Listen to this song– perhaps sing along, give God praise – rejoice in what Jesus offers to all.
By Grace Hunter