Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter of Philippians. It was a special kind of prison situation in that He was chained to a Roman soldier instead of being in jail with bars. Can you imagine being chained to Paul, what you would hear. Talk about a captive audience. Paul says, ” the whole Praetorian guard” heard. Paul was rejoicing in his difficult situation because as he says, ” my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel”. Not only did he get to share about Jesus with soldiers that couldn’t get away from him, but he goes on to say that many other believers were sharing the gospel with great courage and without any fear because of Paul’s example. Paul‘s driving desire was to share Jesus with those who didn’t know Him and were not believers so that they would come to believe in Him and follow Him so that they could live for all eternity with Jesus, and not be lost forever in the “Lake of Fire”.
Trials and difficult situations in a person’s life don’t automatically result in greater opportunities to share the gospel. A person must respond correctly to their trials if they want to be used by God to attract people to Him.
Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
This verse says that if you “do all things without grumbling” you will appear to those around you as perfect, people will know that you are connected to God, and you will be a light that will attract people to your faith.
The greatest joy in all of life is being used by God to attract and influence another person to a saving relationship with Jesus, but those who grumble and complain about trials, problems, and difficulties will probably never experience that joy. Paul rejoiced when trials came because he knew God was setting him up for some cool ministry and witnessing opportunities.