Do you have anything in your life that you wish you could wave a magic wand and make it go away or get better or disappear? I am sure all of us would say yes to this question in one way or another. I am sure you have at some point in your life said something like this, “Lord, if you would just change this I could serve you more effectively.”
You have prayed to be released from your imprisonment but it just hasn’t happened. The grief and anxiety of your life at times may feel like it is closing in on top of you and becoming a prison around you that is isolating you from the rest of the world.
What do you do? Do you pray God takes it away? Yes. But while you wait for Him to remove it, what do you do? Do you give up? Give in? Give out? Or do you press in and do you look for ways for the Gospel to go forth through you, your pain, and your imprisonment regardless of what may be before you, around you, and above you possibly consuming a large portion of your emotion and time?
How do we have a gospel perspective in grief and anxiety?The Apostle Paul tells us what our mindset should be in Philippians 1:12 when he says, “I want you to know that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, can you see your life like this? Regardless of what has or is happening to you, can you say, “What has happened to me has served to advance the gospel.”
If not, why not?
Now let me ask a harder question, “What has happened in your life that you refuse to see how God has advanced His gospel through you because of it?”
The last conversation I ever had with my mom face to face was February 1992, right before she was killed by a drunk driver. I had come home from college for my grandfather’s funeral.
That night after the funeral my mom wanted to talk. She wanted to talk to me about Tosha, whom I was dating and is my wife now. She told me she believed she was the one for me. Then out of the blue, she asked me to preach her funeral. That weirded me out. I tried to change the subject, she wouldn’t allow it until I agreed, so I did. I had no idea it would be just days after this she would be killed.
I have looked back on the last conversation many times and see how God used it to shape the last almost thirty years of my life for Him.
What painful thing in your life do you refuse to step into because the hurt is too great and your sorrow causes you to push the Spirit of God away from those places in your life and in your heart?
Have you ever stopped to consider that the greatest way the Gospel will be advanced in your life is through that very thing you refuse to accept and give to the Lord to use for His advancement of the Gospel. I know it is painful. I know it is dark. I know it is lonely. I know it is unjust.
I want to encourage you to ask God to use your pain and anxiety to advance His Gospel through you. Paul tells the Philippians 1:13 that it had become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that his imprisonment is for Christ.
Like Paul, ask God to make himself known to others through your grief and anxiety.
Say to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, use this pain, this imprisonment, this loneliness, this loss, this darkness, this confusion, this sadness, this anxiety and make your Gospel known to others through my pain and anxiety.
I am not waiting for God to change the pain of my life to become His witness. I am asking God to use my pain to advance His Gospel and make Himself known to others through me.
How do you view your imprisonment? You can see sorrow as a means of advancing and making God’s Kingdom known through you or you can get bitter that God hasn’t changed your imprisonment.
If you choose to make your imprisonment a chamber for the advancement of the Gospel and for others to hear the Good News of Jesus, it will be contagious in other’s lives. Paul knew that and told the Philippians in Philippians 1:14 that others were becoming confident in the Lord because of his imprisonment. He reminds them that his example gives others much more boldness to speak the word without fear and anxiety.
Your choice to make the Gospel advancement the focus in your imprisonments, griefs, and anxiety gives others the confidence to speak the Word of God with boldness without fear.
God wants to meet you in the imprisonments of your grief, pain, and anxiety. The prison, that you feel surrounds your life right now, doesn’t have to define the mission and the effectiveness of your life purpose to advance the Gospel.
Invite Jesus into the imprisonment of your life and watch Him take it and multiply into others His Good News. The advancement of the Gospel through you and your circumstances is worth the struggle. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Peace will come in the midst of the grief and anxiety and God’s Gospel will go forth because of you into other’s lives.