Paul shows tremendous grace towards fellow Christians who express ill-will towards him. His graciousness is commendable, but we must not misunderstand why he chooses this posture. It is not because he believes that their behaviour is acceptable. In no way would Paul condone this type of behaviour in the churches he leads and instructs. He is able to dismiss their motives because of his unwavering belief that God can use any proclamation of the gospel for his good purposes. Paul puts the importance of the gospel far ahead of his concern for his own reputation.

God uses all sorts of means to reach people with his gospel message. Often these methods come in-and-out of fashion, and we can only reflect back with amazement that God chooses to use our ill-conceived efforts. God is good. Different churches and denominations have different focuses and practices, and God chooses to use us all. We must not let our confidence in participating in a certain expression of God’s kingdom move into arrogance. We move forward with faithfulness, trusting that God will use us.

Read Philippians 1:15-18a.

Pray for the other churches in Bowness. They are our brothers and sisters and we trust that God is doing amazing things through them and their ministries.