We find Paul, here he's a little bit older and he's been through some “stuff”. By this point, he's like, hey, look, I figured some things out. This brings me to my first point:
I am not a hostage to my environment.
Listen to what Paul says in verse 12,
"I want you to know, dear ones, about what happened to me…"
Phil. 1:12 (a)
Listen to what he says to close out that verse:
"I want you know, dear ones, what has happened to me has not hindered, but helped my ministry of preaching the gospel, causing it to expand and spread to many people."
And the word that he uses for expand is the word that actually means to move forward and to make progress in spite of severe opposition. What if God is more interested in changing YOU than changing your situation? Sometimes God will use the very situations that we would pray away to do the things that can only be done in situations that we would not choose.
I am not a hostage to my circumstances.
Paul says in verse 13:
“For now the elite Roman guards an government officials overseeing my imprisonment have plainly recognized that I am here because of my love for the Anointed One.”
"I'm in chains for Christ. "I know it looks like I'm chained to these guards, "but actually, these guards are chained to me." This chain goes both ways, so I've been preaching in this prison, and don't worry about Paul, and don't circulate a petition to get Paul outta prison, 'cause I'm doing work up in here. can you say the same thing about the situation that you're in today that you feel stuck in? Are you so busy asking God to get you out that you miss the fact that God is trying to get in? Because Paul has reached that point in his life. He's got his priorities straight. He says, "I am put here," verse 16. I'm put here not by Caesar, not by the people who threw in this prison for preaching. I'm put here, I'm not a hostage to how I feel, I'm not a hostage to what I want.
“because they know I’ve been destined for the purpose of defending the revelation of God.”
Even if people mean it for evil, God will use it for good. So I'm not a hostage to what people think about me. You know how you can tell Paul has reached that point that he's no longer a hostage is because of what he says
"…what does it matter…?"
Paul said, "I'm not a hostage to my expectations. "I'm not a hostage to my plans "because I'm committed to God's purpose."And Paul said,
"For what does it matter as long as Christ is being preached?”
Paul said, "as long as Christ is being preached." So even if I'm in this prison, I don't feel sorry for myself because God is using this too. It is in your weakness that his strength is made perfect. So if the situation doesn't change, God, change me, and use me, and "I'm in these chains right now," Paul said. But if God can use these chains of my situation to change somebody else's life, then God, use the chains.
I’m not a hostage to this world.
Paul's saying in the letter, I'm already out. I'm not outta prison yet, but I'm already free. My situation hasn't changed yet, but my spirit is free.Then he makes a shift. And it's weird because he doesn't know what's gonna happen next. I'm not a hostage. God's gonna use me here, God's gonna use me there. If he leaves me, he has something for me to do. If he takes me, he's done with me. I'm good either way.
'…If they preach him with mixed motives or with genuine love, the message of Christ is still being preached. And I will (1) continue to rejoice because I know that the lavish supply of the Spirit of Jesus, the Anointed One, and your intercession for me will (2) bring about my deliverance. No matter what, I will (3) continue to hope and passionately cling to Christ, so that he will (4) be openly revealed through me before everyone’s eyes. So I will (5) not be ashamed! In my life or in my death, Christ will (6) be magnified in me. My true life is the Anointed One, and dying means gaining more of him. So here’s my dilemma : Each day I live means bearing more fruit in my ministry; yet I fervently long to be liberated from this body and joined fully to Christ. That would suit me fine, but the greatest advantage to you would be that I remain alive. So you can see why I’m torn between the two—I don’t know which I prefer. Yet deep in my heart I’m confident that I will (7) be spared so I can add to your joy and further strengthen and mature your faith. When I am freed to come to you, my deliverance will (8) give you a reason to boast even more in Jesus Christ.'
8 times. Some of us have a faith that is held hostage to the outcome and if we see our progress and sense our progress, then we press in and press on. Paul said, "I'm not a hostage to that outcome. "I trust God in the process.We have to remember, God is there through the highs and lows of our lives. Which brings me to my take-home:
Trust the process