Philippians 1:15-18: Some people are telling the message about Christ because they are jealous and bitter. Others do it because they want to help. They are doing it out of love. They know that God gave me the work of defending the Good News.
Have you ever seen those so-called “tele-evangelists” who supposedly have the gift of healing? They prance around the stage and shout lots of “Hallelujah’s!!” and seem to push people over when they lay hands on them.
I remember way back in my Bible College days, one of my fellow students asked our lecturer – a wise, godly Christian leader – about one particularly well known, so-called “tele-evangelist”. This was the question: Do you think that God actually uses this guy to heal people? Good question.
So, the lecturer paused for a moment, cocked his head to one side as he thought about it, and momentarily, the glimmer of a smile emerged on his face, telling us that he’d stumbled across a pearl of wisdom to answer what was a difficult question. This is what he said:
I have two parts to my answer so hear me out. Do I think that God uses this man to heal people? Yes I do. Absolutely I do. But if I were God would I use him to heal people? Not on your life!!
Some people are telling the message about Christ because they are jealous and bitter. Others do it because they want to help. They are doing it out of love. They know that God gave me the work of defending the Good News. (Philippians 1:15-18)
But those others tell about Christ because of their selfish ambition. Their reason for doing it is wrong. They only do it because they think it will make trouble for me in prison. But that doesn’t matter. What is important is that they are telling people about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. So I am glad they are doing it. I will continue to be glad …
Should we be discerning? Yes, absolutely, lest we be led astray. Yet our discernment can quickly turn into judgementalism. Sometimes people do things in God’s name, out of wrong motives. But God’s above all that. His thoughts aren’t our thoughts and His ways aren’t our ways.
I love Paul’s response. Even though they were taunting him while he was locked in a dungeon on death row, He decided to leave it in God’s hands, to let God work it out. A bit like my wise old lecturer.
Be discerning, yes, but don’t be judgemental.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.