Paul has spent some time in the opening chapter of Philippians talking about people who profess Christ from wrong motives. Some have good motives and some have bad motives, but it doesn’t matter to Paul. He entrusts 19 curseshis enemies to God and says in Philippians 1:18, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice!” I enjoyed reading the instructions to Bible Translators from the United Bible Societies handbook on Philippians at this verse. They acknowledge the difficulty in translated the Greek phrase into other languages because of its metaphorical phrasing. They recommend that translators consider phrases like this to describe Paul’s happiness; “my abdomen is sweet,” “my insides are cool,” or “I dance within.” Paul is filled with joy at the preaching of the Gospel. He doesn’t trouble himself with other’s motives or other’s intent to do him harm. He rejoices that the Good News is bring preached.

The fact that Paul’s opponents want to hurt him doesn’t matter to him. His highest goal is to get the truth out to as many as possible. He says that if Christ is preached he will rejoice over it. He’ll be happy no matter what the motive or what the preachers intentions towards me are. Yes, Paul is in prison. Yes, Paul is facing the possibility of execution. Yet, it doesn’t affect his joy at all. As he sits in jail he is (present tense) rejoicing over the fact that the Good News is being preached. He’s also confident that he’ll continue on rejoicing (future tense). I other words he’s not going to let motives, strife, contention, or personal attacks rob him of the joy God has given him. Richison says it very well, “Paul’s point is that the people who were trying to hurt him were contributing to his joy! Paul had such deep appreciation for the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross nothing could alter his focus. Christ’s death upon the cross, his resurrection, ascension, and glorification were so dominant in this thinking that nothing tawdry daunted him.”

I’ve found that God loves to turn cursing into blessing. God is really an expert at that and if you be patient and wait, he’ll always come through. With this truth in mind, Grant Richison asks us several questions that help us personalize this truth about God. These questions helped me. I hope they help you. “Are the people who are attempting to make your life miserable succeeding? Are they controlling your happiness or unhappiness? Is it possible for you to be independent from your antagonists? Paul was. Paul did not concern himself with their motives. That is why cursing was turned into blessing in his life.”