November 16, 2021 – Tuesday
Philippians 1:29-30 NIV
29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,
30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
The focus today is on the word suffer or some version of the same such as suffered or suffering. Using the NIV, you will find there are 88 occasions for the use of the word suffer. Only two in Philippians, but nineteen (19) in 1 Peter which is only one shy of the total in all four of the Gospels.
I happen to have used verse 29 above in Sunday’s message on Luke 8:22-56, but wanted to look at his verse more deeply today as it is not one of the verses that comes to mind when thinking of favorites in Philippians. More likely to come to mind would be 4:8, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things, which is a favorite of mine. Then there is 1:21, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain, and 4:4, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Of course there is this as well 1:6, Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. I will end with one for today’s time when so much is going on 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
One thing to notice in the favorites I provided, none of them really had anything to say about suffering, but verse 29 surely does. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. A surprising number of versions make that a complete sentence, but the majority have verse 30 as a continuation, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. For some context let’s look at what Paul wrote in the prior two verses (27-28), Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. Paul is really encouraging Christians to behave in such a way as to bring honor to their faith. Be worthy, stand firm, often used military terms, fitting for those living in Philippi which has a large military presence. Even the striving as one like a military unit united in their faith without division. That was and is the goal. We often fail, but that is what we should be striving for even today, 20 centuries later.
Before we go to verse 29, we want to know what it was that Paul suffered or struggled with in the past. To find out we turn to Acts 16 where Paul followed a vision that took him and Silas to Philippi in Macedonia. It was there he cast a demon out of a slave woman who could tell the future. She was following Paul and all those with him shouting v17, These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved. Having cast the demon out she could no longer tell the future, so her owners became angry and dragged Paul and Silas to the authorities where they were beaten with rods, flogged, and thrown into prison. Go to Acts 16 to read about the miracle that resulted in the jailer and his household being saved. And of course, Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians while in prison in Rome or Caesarea Maritima.
Now to verse 29, For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, where the word granted comes from the Greek term charis, often translated gift. We know believing in Jesus and receiving His salvation is a gift, but Paul wants us to know suffering for Him is also a gift. Charles Stanley puts it this way, Our trials keep us close to the Lord—humble in His presence and dependent upon His comfort, wisdom, and power. The truth is, we learn more in valley experiences than on the mountaintops because hardships teach us more about the nature and faithfulness of God. I believe that as I am sure many of you do as well from the trials and tribulations you have been trough.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the explanation of the suffering we many experience bringing us closer to You and Your Son. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek