Phil. 1:12-18. What motivates us?

There is something fearful about Paul’s words in Phil. 1:15-18. He thanked God for providence placing him in chains (vv. 12-14), because some gained the boldness they needed to speak the word. However, there were also those who preached, as he said, “from envy, strife, and…selfish ambition,” but he rejoiced that, “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached.” So, these preachers were all preaching Christ. He does not take issue with his opponent’s doctrine per se, but with their motives. This naturally leads to the question, were these true believers or not, and if the former, what does this say to us about what motivates some people to preach, and what motivates us? It is hard to fake sincerity. Clearly some wanted the spotlight, so their goal was to keep Paul in chains for as long as possible, and perhaps they thought that he might also get discouraged. However, as Paul made clear in vv. 12-14, his antidote was his firm belief in the sovereignty of God displayed in his providence. This is the other lesson to learn here. Put it all together and our attitude is a simple one in theory – don’t be moved by the impure motives of some, but place all your confidence in the one whom you preach. Let this be our practice. 

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