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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Monday-The Greater Good

 

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

 

Philippians 1:18,19

 

There comes a point in just about every action movie or TV series where a discussion and decision take place. It’s where they talk about the number of innocent bystanders that will be killed or injured while taking out the terrorists. They do the math, figuring out just what’s acceptable when it comes to taking down the bad guys.

 

At some point in the dialogue, they talk about what they’re willing to do, how much sacrifice is ok. After all, some losses must be ok to ensure the safety of everyone. They talk about how the greater good makes it ok for some to suffer.

 

Paul’s saying this not about some people being held hostage by international terrorists. Or some bank robbers holding customers as prisoners, using them as human shields or pawns to negotiate their escape. No. Paul’s talking about himself. He’s pointing to himself and saying that he’s OK with his imprisonment, as long as Christ is preached. He’s willing to sacrifice himself, his freedom, his reputation, and even his life, in exchange for the name and truth about Jesus being shared with everyone.

 

Think about this for a second. Paul’s imprisonment was not stopping the preaching of the gospel. Remember that Paul’s the Number One preacher in the history of the church. He’s got the most experience. He’s blessed by God with great intellect and spiritual power.

 

He had all the right education. He probably had the entire Old Testament memorized. He had all the right experience. And on top of all that, people are preaching Christ for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being concerned for their eternal welfare, they’re preaching Christ to get back at Paul.

 

So, what does Paul do when God allows him to be benched through his arrest? And then on top of everything else, he hears that people are preaching Christ just to tick him off. He doesn’t lose it. He doesn’t toss his cookies. He doesn’t blow a gasket.

 

I’ll tell you what Paul does. He’s OK with it because he knows that God is using him for the greater good. For the good news of Jesus to be spread all over the place. In the jail. Throughout the guards. In Rome. In Philippi. All around the world.

 

I don’t think Paul praised God for being in jail, and everything that went along with it. But Paul was willing to accept his place and part in the life that God had given him. He knew that God was in control, even through the tough times.

 

We’ve been walking with another couple where the husband’s been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They’ve been through a mountain of scheduling, office visits, blood tests, scans, procedures, insurance forms. He just finished up six months of chemo to hopefully shrink the tumors. In front of them is waiting to see if the chemo’s done its job, allowing for surgery to remove the cancer.

 

Through it all, they’ve remained not just calm, but positive. They have a settled confidence that God is in control. No matter what the diagnosis, no matter the biopsy results, they know deep down in the bottom of their soul that their good God is in control. They trust God to use even these difficult circumstances to glorify himself and to bring many to himself.

 

I don’t know what you’re facing. I have no clue about your past or present. None of us have insight into the future either. But there is a way to walk forward with peace and confidence. And that only comes when we walk with God.

 

There’s an old hymn that says it so much better than I ever could. The words may not be modern, but their truth is timeless.

 

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,

sometimes where Eden's flowers bloom,

by waters calm, o'er troubled sea,

still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

 

Lord, I would clasp thy hand in mine,

nor ever murmur nor repine;

content, whatever lot I see,

since 'tis my God that leadeth me.

 

And when my task on earth is done,

when, by thy grace, the victory's won,

e'en death's cold wave I will not flee,

since God through Jordan leadeth me.[1]

 

Yes, God wants to lead you and me. But leading requires following. God’s not in the business of ripping control of our life out of our hands. He wants us to voluntarily hand it over to him.

 

I didn’t say that it was easy. Or that it was the logical thing to do. But it’s the only way to live at peace. No matter what this life dishes up to us, we can live with peace, knowing that our loving heavenly Father is taking care of us. Now, that’s really choosing the greater good.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • Could you accept injustice and imprisonment like Paul? Why or why not?

  • How do we help God’s settled confidence in the circumstances of life?

  • What makes following God hard? Easy?


[1] He Leadeth Me, J.H. Gilmore, 1862

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