“I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” ~ Philippians 1:19-20.
The Apostle Paul was, and still is, a big man in Christendom. He is the example of one who follows hard the example found in Christ, taking every opportunity to glorify the Lord, “whether by life or by death.” As we begin our study to find the heart-song of godly promotion, what better place to begin than with Paul. Promoted by God as the best-known apostle of Jesus Christ, his road to fame was full of opportunity, but not of ease.
Paul wrote 2/3s of what biblical scholars deemed worthy books to include in the New Testament portion of the most published historic chronicle of our day. The Holy Bible is the go to authority for those desiring to follow Christ Jesus as Lord; and Paul was the number one, exemplary leader in teaching the way of following Jesus.
Because of his heart for God, Paul was highly promoted by God, but not in the way that we too readily tend to look for it. Paul often wrote from a jail cell or while in chains as a prisoner awaiting trial. He often relied on financial supply from those supporting his work and never, to our knowledge, had great, earthly wealth. Not much of a promotion in this worlds standard of measure, is it? Yet even here, in this letter written during one of those imprisonments, we hear his heart as he speaks of seeing the place he was in as an opportunity to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. Later in Philippians, Paul writes of learning the secret of being content. The secret he professes is that of seeing every situation in life as opportunity to trust in, rely upon, and glorify the Lord as his source of strength and supply (Philippians 4).
Paul was so successful as a follower of Christ, taking every opportunity to bear witness of Him, that people were jealous of his success as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We see that in his testimony in chapter 1:12-15.
“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will.”
Others, seeing Paul’s example of faith in God despite circumstance, received inspiration to take every opportunity to share their own testimony of faith in God through Christ. Paul tells us that some preached Christ out of envy, hoping to cause trouble for him, but that did not bother him as long as Christ received glory in their sharing (1:16-18). These preaching out of envy are a picture for us of those who desire promotion with an ungodly mindset. They do not have as their greatest desire the promotion of the cause of Christ. Instead, their greatest desire is to achieve the prestige they see in others. These may have made a name for themselves in the earth; we don’t know for sure as they are not named, but these are an example to us of promotion sought after from a wrong mindset and heart-song. These desire prestige for self rather than the furtherance of Christ.
On this journey we walk in Christ, our promotion may not look like a good thing when viewed from a world viewpoint. Promotion as the people of God’s Kingdom, stationed in this world as ambassadors of Christ, God’s Holy Priesthood, truly effects our Kingdom position and eternal reward. Promotion from God’s viewpoint requires that we recognize every opportunity to take a step up for the glory of God, even when it may lead to our own momentary discomfort. The promoted and successful in Christ follow God and His will, accomplishing Kingdom purpose at all cost, knowing He is our supply, being content where we are, with faith that God is working His plan in and through our lives.
Each step toward higher ground with God only goes up when taken with a right and true heart attitude. Success on the journey requires we have a mind set to please God alone with a right heart attitude, so we successfully participate in His fulfilling eternal, Kingdom purpose.
Next post we begin the journey of discovering the reasons for Christ’s promotion and the instruction God gives us who are the called, equipped by Him to come up higher as His Kingdom representatives.
“Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves” ~ AMP.