Gospel Comfort

Gospel Comfort
“For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 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. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” – Philippians 1:19-24

When it comes to choices, sometimes people have a difficult time making a decision. Perhaps they would like to flip the coin or roll the dice to determine their direction and actions, yet that points toward irresponsibility and an inconsiderate attitude.

While in prison, Paul found himself between two choices, struggling with a decision and the actions he was going to make (Philippians 1:19-23). He considered his responsibilities and the results of his choices, coming to the conclusion that whether he lived or died he would boldly stand, and Christ would be glorified.

Comfort comes in many forms for the apostle, but in this passage, we see that Paul continually rejoices at the continued spread of the gospel message. He wanted to share his comfort with the Philippians by recognizing that their prayers were being heard and that God would be with him in this situation through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, ultimately leading to his deliverance. More important than his deliverance, however, Paul was confident he would properly stand with boldness for the gospel. The result would be either life or death.

If Paul lived, it would be more fruitful labor for the kingdom of God. He would find comfort in knowing that Christ would continue to be glorified in his life and by his actions. If he was to die, it would be gain for he would immediately go to be with the Lord. No greater comfort could be had by man. His actions in the presentation before the governing officials would likely determine which of these two choices would take place, and the apostle is “hard pressed between the two” (Philippians 1:23). For he desires to go be with the Lord, which is better for him.

In our everyday lives, the choices that we face may not be as extreme as Paul's struggles. Nevertheless, we can still act like Paul and stand with boldness for what is right, fulfilling our own calling. We can draw comfort from the Spirit, knowing that God is in control of every situation. No matter the outcome, we know God will be glorified.

So let us find comfort in living a life that properly represents the gospel. Let us responsibly consider our choices and act accordingly. Take a second to consider these questions: When you are hard pressed between choices, do you lean toward the one that you desire for yourself? When put in a difficult situation do you stand for what is right with boldness? In times of difficulty, do you recognize the aid of your brothers and sisters and thank God for it?