12Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
13so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,
14and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
15Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;
16the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
17the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.
18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
This section of the letter is Paul explaining some details of his imprisonment and situation. In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states that, “Your ministry is what you do for other Christians, your mission is what you do for nonbelievers.” Here, Paul tells us of his mission and ministry. He encourages other believers (the majority of his letters are written to entire churches) and his mission is spreading the gospel through the Roman guards. Tell me there’s a more difficult thing to do when you are constantly persecuted and locked up.
He explains that because of this, the Word is spreading like wildfire. The church is growing courageously and the guard is telling others of the gospel. Paul then goes on to talk about the motivations behind each, which I find interesting. The same thing happens today. Some people preach the gospel in order to further the Kingdom. Others preach it to make a name for themselves or make money. In both situations, the gospel is being spread. Remember as we talked about before, all we are to do is plant the seed (http://tiny.cc/seedplanting). Regardless of why the seed is planted, it is planted nonetheless.
It also makes me think of when Christ was on Earth and the disciples told Him about people healing in His name although they were not followers of Christ. He said, “what does it matter if God gets the glory?” You see, God uses different ways to spread His word. This is why Paul rejoices, because regardless of the man, God prevails and His Word spreads.
How are you utilizing the place God has you in life right now?