God’s Glory Our Growth
God, thank you for the opportunity to bring you glory during life’s trials. Help me to welcome opportunities that magnify your strength and my weakness.
Read: Philippians 1:20 (NIV)
"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."
Paul, perhaps more than any other figure in the Bible, understood what it meant to have courage amidst difficult circumstances. In the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul recounts many of these circumstances: imprisonment, floggings, lashings, beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, open seas, dangerous rivers, dangerous people, starvation and hypothermia. In the verse in Philippians we see the basis for Paul’s courage. Paul says that he eagerly expects and hopes that Christ will be exalted in his body. The reason for his courage wasn’t merely just to survive life’s challenges but that it would result in the glorifying and exalting of God. Similar to our passage in Philippians after Paul recounts his trials, in 2 Corinthians he says that the reason he shared these moments is that they exalt God’s strength and God’s grace. In what would be considered quite odd today, Paul couldn’t help but boast in all the difficulties he experienced because he viewed them from an eternal perspective.
What difference our perspective makes especially when it comes to the difficulties of life. When viewed as nothing more than difficulties, it’s easy to become frustrated with God. If you viewed these same circumstances as opportunities to grow in character and opportunities to glorify God, then we are likely to express some measure of gratitude. James communicates this beautifully in the first chapter of the book by the same name when he says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV) Not many of us prefer to be lacking in perseverance or maturity, so let us welcome with open arms opportunities to be courageous amidst life’s challenges. God will be glorified and we will grow.
God, give me a new perspective on trials. Help me to seize these moments as opportunities to exercise courage for your glory and my growth.