Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 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, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance.
Philippians 1:15-19, emphasis added
Paul’s one desire was to see Christ proclaimed. He knew others were doing so out of impure motives and with wrong hearts. But he rejoiced in the fact that Christ was being preached. So often, we in churches find ourselves dealing with jealousy and envy. Another church is growing while ours is not. Another Sunday School class is doing amazing things while ours is not. Another believer is receiving great opportunities while we are not. Rather than celebrating that the gospel is proclaimed, we allow our hearts to become bitter and jealous. We speak out against the motives and methods, claiming superiority, but losing sight of the truth: Christ proclaimed is all that matters! Whether the version of the Bible is KJV or NLT, whether the music is contemporary or traditional, whether the preacher wears suits or shorts, whether the church has a steeple or a coffee bar … when Christ is proclaimed, we must rejoice! Together.
Lord, we get distracted, don’t we? By all sorts of things that really don’t matter. Teach us to rejoice when Your Name is lifted up … no matter what. Create in us a joy that isn’t jealous. Cause us to live in the truth that Your Word never returns void and that Your will is accomplished through ways we will never comprehend. We need to lay down our egos, Lord, and we need to echo the words of Paul, “Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.