(pic credit: King of Tears ©2020 by Dick Robinson. Used with permission by Estate and Family of Dick Robinson)
Quarantine Lessons VI: More Keys
Prisoner of Christ Jesus [cont]
April 7, 2020 COVID Quarantine Day 20
OK, more ‘Healthy Keys 4 Being A Prisoner of Christ’.
[continued from Quarantine Lessons V…]
KEY *Plough through, and cut a new trail.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance (some translations, ‘for the progress of’) the gospel. Phil 1:12
Paul didn’t waste an opportunity, regardless of the wall of spiritual bramble and tangled, thorny weeds in front of him. Even in imprisonment, he pressed into worship, cut thru the difficulties to touch the Face of Faces, and openly shared the saving power of God with others, whatever environment that was.
I discovered that “Progress” is from the Greek term
prokopen, derived of two roots (
pro, “forward,” and
kopto, “to cut”). Originally the word was employed of “a pioneer cutting his way through brushwood” (Vine 1991, 334).
[Heart-check] This wall of difficulty in front of me… quarantine, shelter-at-home, near-martial-law social conditions… am I willing to push in/cut thru/chop-chop-chop the obstacles, to get thru to people who need encouragement, ministry, a voice of connection?
KEY *dealing with resistance and obstacles.
A cousin to ‘plough thru’ is the internal way I deal with resistance.
I don’t like resistance. I don’t like difficulty. I hate push-back. I don’t like barriers. I grumble when I have to put on my overalls and start pulling weeds and cutting bramble to be able to get a few meters ahead.
I like easy. I like a nice, clear path… paved is better, no? I like a nice, easy stroll along a clear path.
Imprisoned and quarantine means resistance. It means restrictions. It means obstacles.
The book of Acts closes with Paul imprisoned for two years in Rome (Acts 28:30). There he awaited his audience with the emperor-Cesar, to whom he had appealed against the charges brought by his religious enemies in Jerusalem. Later, he would be imprisoned by Nero, and eventually executed as an enemy of the Empire.
Paul considered these things as hard to endure, but without name-blame-shame. He didn’t whine and complain. He certainly didn’t blame God, or start writing theological letters that accused God of being unjust, hard-hearted or off-in-the-distance.
To use a modern term, Paul ‘leaned in’ to the resistance and obstacles. He stood his ground. He didn’t lay down and have a pity-party.
In that second Roman imprisonment, Paul told Timothy:
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:1-10
Soldier. Athelete. Farmer. Three identities that have to break thru resistance and obstacles every day. Pain and sweat and discomfort and challenge and stretching and unfair and inch-by-inch progress.
Resistance and obstacles. Be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:1) isn’t just a nice line, it’s the secret of victory (soldier and war) and winning (hard-training and competition) and harvest (ploughing rough ground and growing crops). Grace is God’s operational strength and abilities that we don’t deserve. Grace is the gasoline of Heaven.
[Heart-Check] Am I wiling to put my overalls on and cut a path?
More Keys to come
written by crisbaj
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All Scripture references from New International Version unless otherwise indicated.
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