Dear God, deliver me from secondary priorities. Help me to see clearly as I read your Word. May my heart be open to learn. May I then have the courage to act consistent with what I’ve learned. Amen.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Paul puts an unusual spin on things here, if we catch it. He says that he knows that “through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” We assume that deliverance always means release from prison, complete healing, whatever good thing we want in this life. Don’t we pray that way most of the time? And at first it sounds like that is what Paul is saying- “Through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit…” equals my deliverance. But then he continues, to talk about not being ashamed, and Christ being exalted in his body.
For Paul, deliverance is glorifying God, “whether by life OR by death.” Deliverance is having sufficient courage. We want healing. We want liberation from incarceration. Paul wants to have courage to exalt Jesus.
Today, what kind of deliverance do YOU want? Deliverance from alcohol, drugs, some other habit or addiction? Deliverance from a bad marriage, bad job, bad life choice? No consequence for bad behavior?
How might those issues resolve themselves if our deliverance looked like making sure we exalted Christ with our bodies, whether by life or by death? What if, indeed.
Today, Heavenly Father, may my life glorify and exalt you and your son Jesus. May other things find their appropriate place once I make you most important, love you most of all, and serve you with my whole heart.