A Different Type of Jailbird

Philippians 1:2-5 — 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (NIV).

I want to share four things with you that stand out to me in this passage. I pray you are encouraged today as we learn together.

First of all, Paul wrote the book of Philippians while incarcerated in Rome. God had led Paul to a very uncomfortable place in his life, and he had every reason to be upset. But let’s take a closer look at Paul’s mindset. I believe you’ll find his response to imprisonment to be a little different than most.

The second thing I want you to notice is how he began his letter to the Philippians. He said, “Grace and peace to you.” I don’t know about you, but if I was writing a letter from jail, I would probably start by saying something more like this: “Get me out of here! I’m innocent. Call my lawyer; this is messed up!” From the loneliness of his cell, Paul did not curse God or beg for help. He spoke of God’s grace and peace toward others, not himself.

Then he thanked God. At this point in his life, what did Paul have to be thankful for? He was innocent of any crime, and he was imprisoned because of the God he served. Even so, he was thankful for his Philippian brothers and sisters. No matter your adversity, you can find something or someone to be thankful for.

Lastly, he said, “I always pray with joy.” Though Paul was shackled, he was not bitter. What an awesome example he is to us as believers today. Paul was a different type of jailbird.

Perhaps you feel imprisoned by your circumstances. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I pray you will pattern yourself after Paul’s example. Only you can make the decision to handle adverse situations in a godly manner.

Psalm 146:7 — He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners (NLT).

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