Coping With Difficult Times - Philippians 1:19-30

Coping with Difficult Times

What are some difficult times you have faced in your life?
How did you cope with those times?
How can you apply those lessons to your own life?
Did you find your hope and strength in Christ or something else?

Philippians 1:19-30

19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Paul is going through some difficult times. He is under house arrest and his freedoms are essentially stripped away. However, Paul is confident that it is because of the prayer of others and the Spirit of Jesus. These are the only things we need during difficult times. We must dedicate time to pray and continue seeking the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is easy to rejoice when things are going well, but where are we putting our faith in during challenging times? 

What more? Paul expresses the continued desire that everything points to Jesus. Even though he is facing hard trials, he wants Jesus to be glorified. If he remains strong, then maybe someone will see that it was all because of Jesus. Paul desires to be the least and pursues complete servanthood and humility because he does not want anything to get in the way of people seeing Jesus. He doesn’t want anyone to say Paul triumphed because of something Paul did. 

Paul points out that the greatest reward is to die in the service of Christ so that he may ultimately be with Christ. However, Paul understands that God’s will is superior to his own. He understands that God has a purpose for Paul and that God is not through with him yet. Paul understands that God still needs Paul in the flesh to continue God’s ministry. Paul’s work is not completed, and he is torn by this. 

Paul also notes that serving Christ is not going to be easy. The world hates us because we submit to Christ. We will suffer pain and go through trials; it is guaranteed. But, Paul encourages them to stand fast in their faith. Trust that God’s purpose for the trial and God’s purpose for our lives is greater than anything we can comprehend.  

Paul writes to the church in Philippi about his current circumstances and his hope for the future. He is facing imprisonment and possible death, but he is confident that God will deliver him. He also expresses his desire to continue serving Christ, whether by life or by death.
Paul's words can be an encouragement to us when we are facing difficult times. He reminds us that God is always with us and that He will never abandon us. He also reminds us that our hope is not in this world, but in the next.

When we are facing trials, we can pray for the same confidence that Paul had. We can ask God to help us to trust Him even when we don't understand what is happening. We can also ask Him to give us the strength to continue serving Him, no matter what.

Paul's words are a reminder that even in the midst of suffering, we can have hope and joy. We can trust that God is working all things together for our good, and that He will ultimately bring us to glory. God has a plan for us, but are we looking for it? Are we looking with prayer? Are we looking in the Word?

I encourage all of us to remain strong. Remain humble. Submit yourselves, wholeheartedly, to Christ. Take joy in the work that only He can do in your life. The ultimate reward is spending eternity in the presence of God, but what are we doing with the time that God has given us on this earth?

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