Tuesday of the 22nd week after Trinity: Philippians 1:12-30.
This is a prison epistle, and yet Paul’s attitude is one of calm and reasoned consideration — nay, enjoyment, of his condition. He thinks out loud for his Philippian readers, showing them not only that it is not easy to tell whether life or death is preferable in his circumstances, and then making the decision that life is preferable, because it will benefit them more!
The section concludes with Paul’s reflection that his sufferings also have their fruit by becoming a model for the Philippians to follow: “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.” (1:29-30)
It is a privilege to suffer like Christ. Paul, as he writes, is enjoying that privilege, and he urges the Philippians to adopt his view of the matter and imitate Christ in like manner.
Paul’s life is for them. Paul’s suffering is for them. Paul’s death will be for them. This is life, suffering, and death with a beautiful, mighty purpose.