• Bishop Keith Butler

Refuse to get Negative

But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel. (Philippians 1:12)


Remember that Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians from prison. Now, I’ve never been arrested, and I trust I never will be. But I think that the public embarrassment of being cuffed and carted off by officers of the law would be very hard to handle. Incarceration is not pleasant today, although you may hear people talk about it as if it's a country club experience; it is not, and conditions were much, much worse in Paul's day.

Early church tradition believes that Paul was held in an underground jail that was more of a sewer than anything else. It goes by two names – the Mamertine prison or the Carcer Tullianum (Tullianum prison in Latin).


Conditions in that place were inhumane. Prisoners were lowered into a hole in the ground just big enough to hold them captive. The bottom half of their bodies languished in sewer water. The top half of their bodies were chained and often without clothing.


Amid those horrendous conditions, Paul refused to get negative! He told the Philippians not to be down about his situation; he believed it would, in the end, promote the Gospel. What an amazing attitude Paul had!


Paul was attacked by gangs of men who opposed, stripped, and scourged him. He was beaten with rods on his feet, imprisoned several times, and left for dead once. He walked perilous trails that were frequented by robbers. He spent many days on a ship as a prisoner in hurricane-force winds, absolute darkness, and without food. Yet, he never wrote or spoke with a “poor, poor pitiful me” voice.


Practical Application – Paul refused to get cynical. He didn't question God's love or the call on his life. Why not be like Paul? Refuse to get negative regardless of what happens!


2 Corinthians 11:25; Acts 27:21

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