Summary: A look at how the Apostle Paul was able to cope with frustration, specifically as it related to his unjust imprisonment.
How to Live In Frustration City
12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.
16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.
18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. 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.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
One summer, my wife and I were touring the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC. It was very warm and we stopped at an ice cream stand. We got in line a waited patiently for our turn. After about 15 minutes, I finally stepped up to the window to order, when all of a sudden, right before my eyes, the clerk closed the window, saying, “I’m sorry, but we’re closed for the day.”
Talk about frustration! Well, as a matter of fact, that IS what I am addressing today...How to Live in Frustration City.
The text is verse 12: Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
Like a beam of light out of the dungeon, comes this message from the Apostle Paul while in his Roman prison cell.
You can put an eagle in a cage, but he’ll soon make his way to the highest perch.
You can put a man of God in prison and chain him to the floor between armed guards, but his spirit remains free.
You cannot imprison the human spirit!
Not that being locked up is easy; not that we should take it lightly. Paul was “in bonds”–in total frustration. How do I know he was frustrated? Just look at him...
• He had a call to preach
• He was a man on the move–zealous for the gospel
• He had a burden for the lost
• Pioneered churches that looked to him as leader
And there he was, locked up, unable to do any of those things. Yet, even though he must have been frustrated at times, he was not sitting around wringing his hands, chewing his fingernails, or tearing his hair. Instead, we find him on top of his troubles, having learned from his Lord how to behave when in distress. His behavior is summed up in Phil 4:11: ...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
All of us have frustrations from time to time. They may not be of the prison variety, but they’re just as real.