I want you to know, my friends, that the things that have happened to me have really helped the progress of the gospel.
As a result, the whole palace guard and all the others here know that I am in prison because I am a servant of Christ. 114
And my being in prison has given most of the believers more confidence in the Lord, so that they grow bolder all the time to preach the message a fearlessly.
Of course some of them preach Christ because they are jealous and quarrelsome, but others from genuine good will.
These do so from love, because they know that God has given me the work of defending the gospel.
The others do not proclaim Christ sincerely, but from a spirit of selfish ambition; they think that they will make more trouble for me while I am in prison.
It does not matter! I am happy about it - just so Christ is preached in every way possible, whether from wrong or right motives. And I will continue to be happy,
because I know that by means of your prayers and the help which comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ I shall be set free.
My deep desire and hope is that I shall never fail in my duty, but that at all times, and especially right now, I shall be full of courage, so that with my whole being I shall bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more.
But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose.
I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing;
but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive.
I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith,
so that when I am with you again, you will have even more reason to be proud of me in your life in union with Christ Jesus.