One Word Will Shift Your Perspective in Any Difficult Situation

Nathan Harrison
2 min readMar 31, 2022


Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

(Philippians 1:12, NIV Bible)

Have any actually people in your life?

You’ve encountered them. They show up at the tail end of a conversation. Here’s their grand entrance: “Well actually…” I’ve always associated the use of that phrase with people who think they know-it-all (and then I run the other direction).

But in the midst of some recent difficulties, the Apostle Paul has me thinking a bit differently.

There’s an actually in the middle of every apparently.

You probably don’t have to think hard to come up with a less-than-ideal situation in life, especially after these past couple years.

No doubt you’ve formed a narrative about the situation. If left to human nature, that narrative only accelerates downhill. And the perspective you need is that of the person you’d least like to hear from: the know-it-all.

Not the annoying know-it-all. The actual know-it-all.

As Paul penned the words “…what has happened to me has actually served…” remember he was chained, imprisoned, and surrounded by guards. Some people know this in a literal sense. Everybody knows it in a figurative sense.

His use of the word actually should nudge us toward a different perspective on any situation.

Actually unchains us from ourselves.

Paul had the incredible insight to see his physical situation from God’s perspective.

As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

(Philippians 1:13–14, NIV Bible)

From his own point of view, Paul was chained. But from God’s point of view? His chains opened the door to three things:

1) Proximity to people (guards) he wouldn’t have otherwise encountered.

2) Encouragement to onlookers watching his situation.

3) The spread of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Whatever chains you’re experiencing in the midst of difficulty open the door to those exact same things. If you’ve entrusted your life to Jesus, you know what Paul knew:

You aren’t chained to your situation. It’s actually chained to you.

This post was created with Typeshare



Nathan Harrison

Still full on Friday: Walk next to people — without them running over you | Pastor