Before we pursue new ‘revelations’ or search for new direction for our lives, we must first remember what God has already done for us. I believe this is one of the most powerful tools used by the Holy Spirit to inspire the pen of Paul the apostle and to strengthen his soul as a prisoner. There, isolated at the bottom of his gloomy and unsanitary Roman cell, in brutal living conditions, everything seems to have forced Paul to compose the first lines of his ‘epistle of potential’ by speaking about his pain.
Everything seemingly should have pushed him to first share the difficulties he was going through, his own doubts or even his bitterness toward those who had abandoned him. However, Paul began his letter by giving thanks to God and speaking of his joy. How? What is his secret?
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5, ESV).
Inspired and encouraged by the Spirit of God, Paul made a decision to show courageous and radical faith, which transcended all the circumstances of injustice that could have suffocated him and reduced him to horror and frustration over his suffering as a prisoner.
This dynamic of faith must become the routine first step in our journey toward the discovery of what God wants to cultivate in us. Paul remembered everything God had already done for him. He recalled the beginning of the extraordinary work in Philippi under his ministry, ten years previously. By choosing to act in this way, Paul renewed his soul and remembered once more the unchanging faithfulness of God.
God was faithful yesterday, and he will be faithful again today and tomorrow. It is a daily and renewed decision that can release within us an unsuspected potential for peace and joy.
We must daily develop this ability to encourage our soul and strengthen our spirit by reviewing the goodness of God. We do this by remembering his faithfulness, love, patience, provision, power, what he has done for us, who he is, his interventions, protection, sovereignty and ability to transform grief into joy. O my soul, bless the Lord and remember all his benefits!
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.