Read Philippians 1:20 (ESV)
As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
What was it that gave Paul the confidence to speak boldly about Christ, even in the face of opposition and persecution?
When it comes to speaking the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are you nervous or confident? Are you timid and fearful when you share your faith or are you bold and courageous? If you said that you are nervous, shy, or genuinely terrified when you share your faith with others (or even think of sharing it with others), you are not alone.
What are we so afraid of? Some of us are afraid of rejection. We are afraid of what other people may think of us. For example, it is becoming less and less popular to be a Christian. We’ve seen churches and Christians get “canceled” for standing up for the truth of the Gospel. You may even be afraid that you’ll lose your job. In some parts of the world, the stakes are even higher. Like Paul, you could be imprisoned or even killed for confessing faith in Jesus Christ.
When Paul was writing today’s verse, he was imprisoned. Throughout his life, Paul suffered immensely for the sake of the Gospel. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned twice, and eventually put to death. And yet, Paul said he had “full courage.” The King James Version translates it as “all boldness.”
With everything that Paul was facing, how could he continue to boldly proclaim the truth of Christ? It is because he said he fully expected Christ to be honored and magnified in his body whether he lived or died. Glorifying the Lord in everything that he did was Paul’s ultimate priority. He wanted people to hear about Jesus Christ and he wanted to bring Christ honor.
Paul knew that if he lived, Christ would be honored. People would hear that Paul had been set free and was continuing to preach the Gospel. If he lived, Paul would go where God sent him and continue to grow the church and make disciples. Paul would proclaim His great name everywhere he went.
But if he died, Christ would also be honored and Paul would receive his promised salvation. Remember last week when Paul said that his imprisonment had actually resulted in many people believing in Christ (Philippians 1:12-14)? Paul fully expected that if the Romans put him to death God would use the situation for good–to glorify Himself and bring more people into a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Friends, I know it can be scary to share our faith with other people, especially in environments that are hostile to the message of the Gospel. But even in the face of opposition we can know and fully expect with all confidence that no matter how it turns out, God will be glorified! He will be honored. He will be praised. Today and always, let’s boldly magnify the name of the Lord!
Jesus, I want You to be glorified in me. I want my life and my eventual death to honor You. Please give me the courage to boldly proclaim Your name and serve You despite the consequences. Amen.