Currently, I’m teaching through the book of Philippians at my church and last night as I was gathering my notes together for the lesson, I came across Philippians 1:12 where Paul is saying:
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” – Philippians 1:12
In this verse, Paul was sitting in chains, most likely chained to a guard in Rome, in Caesar’s household somewhere. Somehow, Paul, being locked up, has actually served to advance the gospel. What I love about this verse is it shows one of the biggest principles of Christianity and that is that our greatest victories often come disguised as defeats. Think about it, you’ve got Paul on household arrest and he was put there to stop the gospel from spreading. He was put there because he wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus and so when people end up hearing about this, the Roman guard knows what’s going on. Everyone ends up talking about it because the reality of somebody who used to kill Christians is now advocating for their God to the point of imprisonment is no ordinary story.
Because of this, the news starts to spread which leads more and more people to start believing in Jesus. In fact, if you look at Jesus, the cross looked like His ultimate defeat, but did it not end up being the ultimate victory for all of mankind? When the disciples started to follow Jesus, they thought they were following a military conqueror. They believed He was the promised Jewish Messiah, but they thought that Messiah was going to overthrow Rome and take over to bring about this big, giant political victory. However, that’s not what happened. They followed him to His death and then they scattered which gave off the impression that they had been defeated. But it was the biggest victory that humankind has ever known. In fact, the resurrection of Jesus was so monumental that it split the calendar into two parts so now we talk about history before Jesus and after His resurrection.
So I don’t know what you’re going through today, but I do know this: if your purpose is to glorify God and tell people about Jesus, then all of your defeats can be spun as your victories.