Intro: For believers, the holidays can be a beautiful time shared with family and friends coming together to celebrate the birth of Messiah the King of Glory. I truly enjoy the Christmas season and the time I spend with loved ones. Quality time is my dominant love language so naturally all the gatherings and meals shared just fill me up physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, I do realize being around family, friends, and many people is not everyone’s “happy place.” If we are going to surround ourselves with human beings, then there is a potential for the perfect storm—conflict. Pray about everything and ask God to use each Christmas gathering as a way to live the peace revealed in the Gospel of Christ.
As long as the Father leaves his children on earth, we will be exposed to the conflict experienced by human sin. Sometimes it is our own sin that rises up to rule, sometimes it is the sin in others that screams for satisfaction, and sometimes it is simply because we live in a spiritually fallen or broken world. Even on the best of days, please do not lose tract of that reality or you will be unprepared. Every human being requires deliverance from sin (Romans 3:23). That is why Jesus came to bring us life from above, so we may receive healing and experience inner peace with God (John 14:17). We then must work for peace with others (Mat 5:9). Scripture reminds us to place our hope in God’s promises while guarding our inner peace, because conflict between good and evil will continue to exist in this world until the Father sends Jesus a second time to judge sin in the living and the dead (John 5:26-29; Phil 4:7).
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul finds himself in prison for preaching the Gospel; suffering from the spiritual conflict between good and evil. Paul would love to go home to God and be done with this fallen world; yet, beyond his own desires to be free of the conflict raging against the righteousness of Christ in him, he wants to see more and more people find peace with God. So, Paul presses on with hope, in spite of his present suffering, to reveal to others the peace he found in fellowship with Christ.
Philippians 1:19-26 NLT 19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
Paul’s Life for Christ
20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26 And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the promised peace you always provide as we place our hope in you. Help us to hold fast to our purpose in this life to live the Gospel. May this Christmas season bring us opportunities to be victorious peacemakers in Jesus’ name. Amen.