“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:12-14). Not everyone is as fortunate as you are this beautiful day the Lord has blessed us with. Some are in danger every moment as they courageously take the Gospel to areas in dire need of it. Their safety is not guaranteed, but their loyalty to God is such that they are willing to suffer persecution and even death in order to spread the Good News. We should be thankful to these brave warriors of God’s word and support them in any way we can. They do not allow their situation to defeat their intention, and neither should we.
Your life may not be at risk, but you may still find yourself in some degree of persecution, and if you do, Paul wants you to know something. You are not alone. Some brothers and sisters are going through the same and even worse and their courage should inspire us to be bolder, just as Paul’s situation emboldened those in his day. Few of us face physical danger because of our religion and fewer still do so under the threat of death, so why do we hesitate to spread the Good News? What are we so afraid of? Is it the opinion of mankind that prevents us from uttering “Jesus loves you” to someone who may be desperately seeking guidance and comfort? If that is the case, take courage from the words of Matt. 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Do not take it as a threat, but rather as an indication of the power of God. Whose side would you rather be on; mortal man with his limited capacity to harm you, or God who has your entire “forever” in His hands? Stop having earthly fear of man but rather have spiritual fear of God.
Furthermore, you are not alone in the struggles you face in your daily life. We have a lot to learn from other Christians, and their similar situations can be a great source of encouragement if we allow it to be. Take to heart the words of 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” There is comfort in knowing that we are not alone in the persecutions we are facing, but many egocentric Christians act as if they are the only ones ever to have suffered some verbal insult. Did Jesus not suffer the same? Was He not considered an outcast, an upstart who would be here today and gone tomorrow? And yet He was willing to go to that cross to suffer humiliation and death to give you the opportunity you are so undeserving of.
So, take courage, knowing you are never alone and never fear what man can do to you. Fight to save one more person. Fight to give someone the same opportunity that was given to you. Help them to a better future and don’t be afraid. You are not alone. “…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6).