Lord, there is a bit to unpack in these verses today. Help us to yield to the principles written here. Help us to not view death as a dishonorable or poor outcome in life. Help us to hold honoring You above all other things, including our lives. We are so fickle and turn on You so quickly. I pray that today as we read these verses and see Paul’s attitude, even unto death, that we are motivated to stand in faithfulness and trust no matter what!
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Paul was currently in home arrest in Rome. According to historical sources a roman prisoner could be held up to 2 years MAX without progression on their case. In Acts 28:30–31 we read about Paul’s home arrest actually taking this FULL two years. It seems like Paul, in Philippians 1:19, was tracking that his accusers did not really have an attack against him. He felt that there was nothing they could stand on so Paul would not be convicted. The alternative to a 2 year hold was 1)an innocent judgement or 2)execution. So Paul was hopeful that in this case there was nothing that could be waged against him. Furthermore, he “[hoped] that [he would] not be at all ashamed” meaning there was nothing defamatory that could be waged against him. Though he may not be freed (seen in the second half of verse 20) he believed there was no possible way someone could bring anything against him that would shame him or Christ. Instead he felt that regardless of what happened to him, whether it be getting freed or executed, God would be honored in this. He felt that anyone who looked on his situation would see God’s Truth and faithfulness shining through it.
These verses bring up two principles:
1)Paul felt that he was living a life that was in line with 1 Timothy 3:2 ( 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach). This doesn’t mean he never made a mistake rather that in everything he did there was resolution immediately if there was a mistake and there was never intentional defamation or offense committed. I am curious how many of us can truthfully stand behind this concept. Of course you may not be committing significant illegal activity however are you above all reproach? Do you fix any wrong doings immediately? Do you assure that no one could strip you of your testimony due to your own doing? It is important for us to walk in integrity, love, and faithfulness not for our salvation sake as God makes it clear that we are saved by grace through faith alone not by works! It is important for us to walk in integrity, love, and faithfulness because otherwise we will tarnish our ability to minister to others. Our number one mission in life is to share the Gospel and free people from sin. Walking without integrity and love is simply prideful and self focused. If we are so immature that we cannot control ourselves and our daily walk it shows that we don’t truly care about God’s mission and would rather live a life that glorifies us and yields to our desires, preferences, and perspective. OR it shows a life marked by inadequate understanding of the Spirit’s ability in our life (or both). So I challenge you in this regard: learn to walk in the Spirit so that you can be marked by self control and live a life above reproach.
2)Paul also felt that even death would be honoring to God. We struggle with this one. We constantly pray for healing above anything else. We become solemn after someone dies and is not healed. Rightfully death carries with it some sadness but sadness attributed to a lack of healing SHOULD NOT be the case. We serve a God who has made it clear that our lives serve the purpose of displaying God’s glory. We spoke recently about how honoring God and giving God glory even through suffering is one of the highest ways we can honor God and give Him glory. Additionally dying FOR Christ is even more honorable as it shows our allegiance to Him is above everything INCLUDING our own lives.
I wonder: do you hold God’s honor above your own life? I think that if we evaluate our life in accordance with the first point here (living above reproach) we will see a direct answer to the second principle. On a daily basis most of us yield to our prideful perspective on life: it is my right to say what I want if it’s true to me. If we cannot yield to God’s guidance when life isn’t even at stake WHY do we expect that when faced with death or intense persecution we will “shine”? I petition today that if you evaluate your life in regards to principle 1 and see yourself come up lacking you SHOULD pray for the Spirit to intercede and help you honor God in your daily decisions. For if you are not practicing this honorable living now when persecution comes (we have certified this is guaranteed) you will fall and not in an honorable way.
Pray for the Spirit to intercede in your life now. Pray for change.
God, help me to evaluate my life soberly. Help me to see the truth about how I am living, what I should be doing, and how to accomplish it. Make clear to me how my life fails in honoring You. Make clear to me the places that I am walking in the pride of life and not focusing on You. Help me to honor you in everything I do. Amen.
Perhaps above what you can do to share this you SHOULD be intentional at fixing things that could be held as reproach against you. Perhaps, according to Scripture, you should make intentional effort towards righting wrongs you have committed. Perhaps you should contact those people you have been disrespecting, challenging inappropriately, gossiping about, whatever it is. Perhaps you should contact them and reconcile the issues, even if they aren’t even aware of your disposition against them.