TRIMPHANT IN TRIBULATION
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Philippians 1 : 1-30
“…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.” -Phil.1:20 [NKJV]
Christian faith is marked clearly and even distinguished from other ways with the evidence of the experiences of the Cross. Bearing the cross daily with joy and triumph is what true Christian life is. Philippians is an epistle written to express Paul’s gratitude to a church that was with him, all through his missionary expeditions; in prayer, financial support and giving all assistance in spreading the gospel. But in this thank you letter, he encourages the readers with the joy of a true Christian life. It is full of joy- whether it meant life or death. Every Christian experience ordained by the Lord is to prepare us for the new life. Our life’s pendulum may swing either way, but for a Christian, it is joy all throughout. Let us examine it in detail.
Christ has begun a good work in us:
Phil.1:6: being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ
Jesus who came as the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45) became a life-giving spirit. He is in the process of creating a new man in us. It is a process of transformation from earthly to heavenly. So practically all that is earthly will slowly be taken away and the new things of the heavenly perspective take shape in us. In this divine transformation process, there is pain and suffering; it is a part of the cross bearing. Only the cross can take away the “old man.” But the beauty of this is that all these suffering in the life of a Christian is truly a joyful one. Dear reader let us joyfully understand the suffering on this side of heaven so that ultimately we will be able to complete the process of transformation and can reach the eternal shore where the joy in its fullness is awaiting.
Life or death:
Phil. 1:21 NKJV: For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
How do we reach this point in our life? Only a true Christian who bears the cross can match these experiences. As we slowly and steadily say goodbye to the things of this world, and we become more accustomed to the things of heaven then it is much easier for us to join with Paul in this experience. Initially, cross-bearing is tough and painful. But as we press on, we see more of heavenly realities and become accustomed to that; then the things of this world become less important. This grants us the confidence to leave everything that is earthly and seek after that is heavenly. Phil.1:23: For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
Triumphant in tribulation:
As we consider the lives of the real heroes of faith, we see one thing clearly: their life was marked with lots of trials, sorrows, sufferings, sickness and even persecutions of all kind. Still, they triumphed in all these with unprecedented joy and peace. They kept going, pressing forward; and endured every suffering with joy and gladness. It is clear that they had their share of cross-bearing. They bore it with joy that came through the Holy Spirit. Hence, they became triumphant over every fiery trials and temptation! That’s the victory of a Christian!
“I press toward the goal for the
prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
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