“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else.” (Philippians 1:12–13, NASB95)
The Christian message has many enemies. Today, that number seems to be growing in our own country. Ever since Jesus began His ministry there has been opposition. As I write this devotion, there is a story in the news about a young man who was the valedictorian of his class. When he got his speech back from the principal he found that it was heavily edited. The principal took out all references to how much Jesus meant to this young man and to the boy’s success. Stories about suppressing the Christian message could be told thousands of times a day all over the world, yet the message continues to spread.
Paul had been arrested because of his bold proclamation of the Gospel. The thought was that if he were jailed his reach could be limited. But in our verses for today, Paul tells us how God continued to work powerfully to spread the Gospel even through his imprisonment. You see, nothing can stop the movement of the Holy Spirit. You can no more stop the spread of the Gospel than you can a raging fire. Try to stomp it out and it just spreads. In the 20th Century, communism attempted to eliminate Christianity by using persecution and the law, making it illegal to practice. But when the communist countries failed and fell apart, a thriving church rose from within the ashes. Nothing can stop the spread of the Gospel because it is not a human ideology. It is a divine message spread with divine power. Acts 19:20 says, “So the Word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.”
So, Christians, be disheartened but not discouraged when our society attempts to squelch our message. Stay true to the faith and know that nothing on this earth has the power to stop the spread of the Gospel.