Today’s verse reads, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,whether by life or by death.”
In this chapter, Paul begins by telling the church at Phillipi how much he loves and thanks God for them. He then lets them know that his being chained has brought more glory to Christ because it gave other Christians courage and more people began preaching the Gospel. Paul lets them know of the dilemma he has of whether to die and be with Christ or to stay on earth. But he assures them that he will stay to continue to help them. Paul ends by instructing them to continue conducting themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.
This verse, along with the next verse are two of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. This is because it shows how God can change someone so completely. Paul’s story is truly a blessing to read. I pray that God can change me in such a way that I will be that on fire for Him like that.
But, on to the verse! The first thing I want to point out is that Paul has expectations for himself. He first expects and then hopes that he will not be ashamed. This is the order that we must use in our daily lives. We have to put expectations on ourselves in God and we must be eager to put those expectations on ourselves. God wants us to be on fire for Him. He wants us to be eager to become more like Him.
The second thing I want to point out is how Paul says “in no way”. He wants to make sure he covers all the bases. It is easy to see that he is serious about the hope that he has. Paul is not in denial either. He recognizes that in the world that we live in, it is easy to get ashamed of being a Christian. The way we are prosecuted could make anyone want to go into their shell. So, this we must do too. Recognize and be realistic about the dangers and hard spots of being a Christian. This way, we can be prepared for anything Satan tries to throw our way. Once we become aware and stop being in denial, those weak spots become spots that we can turn around to the glory of God.
In the last part of this verse, we can see that Paul is unafraid, but only because God has provided him “sufficient courage”. When Paul says “now as always”, he is recognizing that the Christian journey only gets harder as we go along. This is because the more Christ-like we get, the more Satan wants to tear us down. But we must be unafraid as Paul was and be forever ready to exalt Christ in everything we do. “Whether by life or by death” shows that Paul knows that either way, he can be used to lift God up and glorify God. By life he could be used by helping people get closer to God and preaching the Gospel. By death, he could be used as a martyr. Again, we must be as unafraid as Paul.
Do better. Think better. Be better.