When you face opposition, strive together for the faith of the gospel … that you suffer for his sake as I do … So then in my absence, be very careful how you effect your deliverance, because God is at work among you, both to will and to work as he pleases. Philippians 1:25–2:13
God does not always express his grace in our lives in the same way. Sometimes we easily perceive the joyful good he intends for us. In the fellowship the Spirit creates, we experience the encouragement of God’s loving consolation and affection and compassion. But God sometimes graciously puts us in a place where we’ll suffer because of the gospel. Unfortunately, we often forget, in the face of opposition, that the other believers around us are not the enemy. And, forgetting that our primary task is not self-preservation, we act as though we are more important than anyone else around us. So we squabble with each other or we try to escape the situation. When Jesus was in similar situations, he demonstrated that we reach the pinnacle of life by traveling through the valley of suffering service, not bypassing it. So we must remember, as Jesus did, that we are in a dangerous situation, not by chance, but precisely because of God’s grace, that is because God is working from the joy in his life to create a corresponding joy in ours.
O God, as I labor with others for the sake of the gospel, heighten my awareness that you are working in and through me, so I will respond with confident humility as Jesus did.