16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Philippians 1: 15-18
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, some of his intent is to offer thanks to those that have shown support for him, as well as assure them he continues well, while imprisoned. But he also seeks to encourage them in their service to the Lord.
Paul appreciated that there were those that were serving the Lord for the right reason – out of love for the Savior, as well as love for the sinner. But he also recognized there were those sharing the Gospel out of selfish ambition.
Sometimes, as Christians, we can be discouraged when we see wrong motives or improper intent by other Christians. This passage shows us this type of behavior was as common in Paul’s day as it is today.
We might often see Christians a bit puffed up and prideful about their ministry. It is generally fairly easy to spot. There are times it is apparent that a Christian might be doing things for the wrong reason. Maybe things have become more about themselves and they actually love the attention they are receiving more than the actual purpose, or outcome of the work that God has intended for them.
When we become discouraged by those with improper intent, we can be like Paul and be thankful that at least the Gospel is still going forth. Whether in pretense or in Truth, Christ is yet preached. Of course God doesn't condone or excuse this type of pride, but we can be assured God can use the message despite the motive as long as the message is pure and accurate.
In times like now, when sometimes it seems we see less and less of God in our society, this admonishment seems especially important – at least Christ is preached. We are promised after all, that God’s Word will not return void…it will be effective. Along with that, we can pray that those with a wrong heart attitude will see exactly where their affections lie. But even more importantly, we can ensure that we do not develop pride in what we do for God, but rather strive to share the Good News for the right reasons i.e. out of love – our love for Jesus, but also love for those who need to know Him.