"But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor…" (Philippians 1:22) NKJV
The apostle Paul had been falsely accused of stirring up trouble, when really all he had done was to share the Good News that Jesus saves. So-called witnesses testified against him, but because Paul was a Roman citizen, he had the right to appeal to Caesar, the emperor of the Roman Empire.
Awaiting his hearing before Caesar, while imprisoned in Rome, Paul did not know if he would be released from prison or executed. So, he wrote to his Christian brothers and sisters in the church at Philippi, "But IF I live on in the flesh..." To Paul, that was a big "if!" Either way, he knew he would be just fine because he trusted in the Lord. If Paul lived, he would continue his ministry, but IF NOT, and he were executed, he would simply go home to Heaven to be with the Lord.
How about you? Are you prepared for the "if nots" of life? What if your financial situation never improves? What if you never have the Christian marriage you desire? What if your wayward child never turns his or her life around? What if you are persecuted for your faith when all you wish to do is live for the Lord, tell others about him and help them also to become His faithful followers? What if life doesn’t turn out the way you planned? Can you agree with Paul that all that you will keep trusting and living for the Lord?
King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image and decreed that all within the Babylonian Empire bow down to it. However, there were three Hebrew young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who had placed their faith in God, and so, they refused. The king told them that their refusal would mean they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. But the three told the king, according to Daniel 3:17-18, "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” NKJV
In the case of the three Hebrews, God indeed delivered them from the fire, but they were prepared “IF NOT.”
Here is the inside scoop: According to the Bible, everything in life is NOT going to always go your way. God might allow you to endure certain things so that others can be helped. He might allow certain things to occur to increase your faith. He could allow difficulties and problems to come your way for which you might never know the reason. But be assured of this, the Father knows best! He sees the big picture when we see only a tiny brushstroke on the canvass.
Be prepared for the "IF NOTS" of life. If they haven't already arrived, trust me, they are on the way! Just remember the promise of Jesus that He will never leave you nor forsake you. God is forever faithful!
Read Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 1 Peter 5:7
Jerry Fulton's goal in life is to share the love of Jesus, so others might become followers of Christ.