Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. NIV
At first glance, this reminder seems counter-intuitive. Because the writer of Philippians, Paul, is in chains, other believers have been emboldened.
Paul addresses this in the verses that precede this reminder. In The Message, this section of the chapter is entitled, “They Can’t Imprison the Message,” and verses 12-14 read:
I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else too, found out that I’m in jail because of the Messiah. That piqued their curiousity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the Christians here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever. Sepaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah. The Message
Paul was placed in jail for his faith. Instead of abandoning his beliefs to win his freedom, he becomes all the more bold about delivering his message … the message cannot be imprisoned.
Our faith, our assurance in Jesus Christ, shouldn’t be quietly contained within us. It should burst out … it should overflow from us … it should be wholly evident to everyone we come in contact with.
The message cannot be imprisoned.
It can’t be bound by chains, or by circumstances. I can choose not to pass it on, because God gave me the free will to make that choice, but, if I don’t do as I am called to do, I won’t stop the progression of the Message. I will merely be an unproductive vine.
Because of Paul’s example, because of the example of countless others that have come before me, I am encouraged … I can and should speak courageously and fearlessly about the Messiah.
It would seem as though this season of Advent would provide a ready-made opportunity for sharing Christ with our world.
I’ll have to think about that today.