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COVID Study: Week 4: Paul in Prison - the Ultimate Re-Framer

Quick Review

Reframing is our ability to look at exactly the same situation (that made us fearful) and see it from a different perspective ( as we stand firm, victorious and brave).

We can do this because:

  • Our minds are powerful. The Bible says we have the mind of Christ. Can't get more powerful than that. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

  • We can have control over our thoughts. The Bible says we can take thoughts captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

  • If we have control over our thoughts, then we can choose which perspective we should take.

Key Points in Reframing For Yourself - When you Feel Fear

  • Get a piece of paper out and draw a line down the middle of it.

  • On the left column write down your thoughts and feelings. This helps us to clarify and understand what is really going on. There may be loads of things going on and this process will help you unjumble it all.

  • Title the right column - "But the truth is...". Truth always brings victory.

Definition of Fear

The definition of fear is an emotion experienced in anticipation of pain, danger or the unknown. The key word here is anticipation.

We talked about two scenarios.

  1. The first is when we personally are experiencing fear.

  2. The second is when we are in a conversation with someone who is experiencing fear. How can we speak the "Language of the Believer" when conversations (nowadays) always seem to turn to something to be afraid of.

Changing our Why Questions to What’s Next Questions

Why Questions

  • Why is my life out of control now?

  • Why will COVID never end?

  • Why this violence?

  • Why is there so much divisiveness on social media?

  • Why do I not feel safe?

Think about this…if you or I were diagnosed with cancer, what question would we want to hear? What would encourage us?

  • Someone could ask a Why question. Why did you get cancer?

  • Or someone could ask What’s next?

I’d rather hear the “What’s next?” It is a forward thinking question, a reframed question that looks at future hope, instead of backwards. I can’t change events that have already happened. But I can have hope in the LORD and in His power and love to guide me through the future.

Today we will continue to look at a tool called “Reframing”. Reframing is our ability to look a difficult situation and see it from a different perspective. We will learn to reframe a negative outlook with abounding hope.

Our circumstances may not change at the moment, but how we look at the situation will impact our mental, spiritual and physical health.

Physical response to Fear.

When we fear something, our bodies set off a bundle of responses. Hormones fly and inflammation sets in, which can compromise the immune system, potentially leaving us at increased risk for physical illness.

God created us with the where-with-all to control our thoughts. And as we learned before… as a woman thinks, so she is.

How can the enemy defeat us if we continue to reframe our fear and suffering?

The answer: The enemy cannot defeat us!

Our steadfastness in the face of fear and our joy and worship in spite of hardships can be attributed to our ability to reframe the situation.

Philippians and Paul in Prison

  • Paul had an incredible perspective and attitude about his seemingly depressing situation. He could have written a letter about how awful it was in jail and how he was scared to death that the Romans guards would murder him. But he didn’t. How did he do it? He shares the secret in Phil 4 – it all came down to his thought life... and as a man thinks so he is.

  • Paul thought he would go to Rome to preach the Gospel, but now he was in prison not knowing if he would ever be released, or even if he would live. But that’s not what he allowed his mind to focus on.

  • Paul chose to reframe his situation, not focusing on the obviously awful part of it but on more! And guess what?

  • The Gospel was shared with the Roman guards and the Roman guards will share with friends and family. The Gospel was spreading but it wasn’t how he had thought it would happen.

  • Paul also wrote that the believers in Philippi became bolder in their sharing of the Gospel after seeing him in chains for his faith.

  • He believed that God is good, life is not fair, and that God and life are not the same things.

Questions to Ponder

Did Paul ask “Why am I in jail?

Or did he asked What’s next?

Chapter 1

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,

5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

In the above verses, where was Paul’s focus? On himself?

7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

Where was Paul when he wrote this letter?

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 

13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 

14 and 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. 

Who did Paul share the Gospel with? Who was encouraged by Paul’s imprisonment?

18 What 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, 

19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 

20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Where was Paul’s focus? When he focused on Christ what was his response?

Chapter 3

1Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.

Chapter 4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


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