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Embracing Uncertainty

"Maturity is the capacity of the mind to endure uncertainty" - John Finlay

We are all alike, fooled by the mirage of certainty and control. Only when life shakes us by the shoulders do we usually acknowledge this fact. Things are more uncertain and out of our control than we imagined, and that's ok because this truth opens the door for true peace. When we grasp this we can finally begin taking steps to abandon ourselves completely to Jesus and his care, guidance and authority.

The apostle Paul will be our guide over the next 5 days, as we peek into his life, particularly his time in prison. I think we'll be encouraged by his mindset, his prayer life, convictions and endurance.

Paul was imprisoned at least 3 times:

  • In Philippi (Acts 16)

  • In Jerusalem, where he was sent to be imprisoned for 2 years in Ceserea followed by 2 years imprisonment in Rome. (Acts 21-28)

  • A second imprisonment in Rome, Where he wrote 2 Timothy

During this second imprisonment in Rome, Paul wrote:

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David, as proclaimed by my gospel, for which I suffer to the extent of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained!"

-2 Timothy 2:9

Daily Text: Philippians 1:12-20

Now I want you to know, brothers, that my circumstances have actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And most of the brothers, confident in the Lord by my chains, now dare more greatly to speak the word without fear.

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. The former, however, preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can add to the distress of my chains.

What, then, is the issue? Just this: that in every way, whether by false motives or true, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have complete boldness, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Can you imagine the insecurity and uncertainty that could have nagged at Paul?:

  • As one of God's foremost evangelists, what will happen now that he is imprisoned?

  • The uncertainty of new christians and the churches Paul planted. Would they make it?

  • What now? It was hard enough evangelizing and planting churches in the best circumstances, but now?

3 things stand out in regards to Paul's mindset

  1. He's resilient not fragile

  2. He's thoughtful instead of reactive

  3. He's surrendered rather than grasping for control

Heart Questions

  1. If I could control anything at this time and change my circumstances what would I change?

  2. What good can come from the adversity I'm facing?

  3. Is there something specific that I am aware of in my character that God is pruning?

  4. Can you identify the gospel in this passage?

If you need a little extra: Daily Memorization: Colossians 3:1-4

"Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."


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