Here’s a guy with a remarkable attitude: he sees it as positive that he’s stuck in jail because the result is “greater progress of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12) The guy is Paul the apostle and I think he’s quite amazing. If I was arrested and imprisoned I’d be whining and begging my friends for an all out prayer effort to GET OUT.
Instead, Paul sees good coming every which way. First of all, because he’s in prison he gains access to a whole new audience of potential converts. He writes his friends that: “the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else.” (Verse 13)
The next thing is that his friends on the outside gained “courage to speak the word of God without fear.” (Verse 14) You’d think they would be more afraid of witnessing considering what happened to Paul but it had the opposite effect. Maybe they had been passive while Paul was free, letting him do all the heavy lifting. Now they could see that there was no one left to carry the message if they didn’t step up.
Paul also sees good even from bad motivation. He realizes that some are preaching out of “selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives” (Verse 17) Not to worry though, as long as “Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.” (Verse 18)
No wonder Paul’s attitude seems so amazing. He wasn’t afflicted with the ever popular ‘It’s all about ME’ syndrome. Here’s what he says instead: “For to ME, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Verse 21)