14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (ESV)
After reading and taking part in comments on these verses at Philter48, I began to reminisce of all the times I heard a testimony that just greatly encouraged me, spurred me on, and helped me to keep my eyes on Jesus. I can only imagine how the church at this time reflected on all that Paul was going through. Paul was encouraging the church that no matter how bleak things look, God will use it for HIS good and glory. Wondering …is that good enough for you? For God’s glory. I ask myself that question from time to time, and honestly it places things in perspective. And causes my heart to line up with HIS.
Everyone can think of someone who preaches or demonstrates the Gospel with love, and therefore puts up a defense for the Scriptures (can you really do this with love and NOT defend the gospel? just thinking out loud with you). But we also know ones who make it a competition of sorts, and use it for their own personal gain. Before we point fingers at them, remember how easily we fall into traps that have been set for us. If we are not doing it for God’s glory, then we are doing for our own.
I would like to know..
1.) Are you encouraged by a brother or sister who goes through hard times, and you can see God working it for HIS good? Or do you join the ranks of “this is not fair!” ?
2.) Are you into ministry? and if you are…are you in it for personal gain, or all for the glory of GOD?
If you can answer these godly, and have it perfectly figured out..you scare me! If you know that you do fall from time to time into the self righteous area..you are not alone. But we can get out of that and back to where we should be, giving God all the glory, and the praise..yes even or especially in our hard times.
Remember, Paul is writing to the “church”, GOD placed it here, today in HIS HOLY Bible, for you and me..believers, the body of Christ, the “Church”. As I go through this book I am looking for application to me and for you. So feed back is welcome.