What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, (ESV)
The Apostle Paul was a better man than I will ever be. There have been those who have looked at his persecution and judged him as stricken by God. These were men who also preached the Gospel. They should have been his support, but instead they sneered. They tried to rival him instead of reach out to him. It would have been very easy for Paul to be resentful or angered.
Here his response in verse 18. No matter what the motivation of his colleagues he is rejoicing that the Gospel is being preached. This is where I struggle. If I hear some late night TV preacher, motivated by getting the money out of your wallet and into his "ministry" I find myself extremely agitated. I rarely say like Paul, "Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice."
I do think that in other contexts Paul would have exposed the hypocrisy of men who preach with wrong motivations, but I believe that the Apostle is trying to make a greater point. His point in this whole book of Philippians is joy in the midst of suffering. Circumstances may be difficult but they are not to dictate our joy. Our joy is found in Christ.
Note the last few words of verse 18. I will rejoice. I am convinced that you will never experience true joy from a biblical point of view if you have not made a decision that you will rejoice. Regardless of your situation you must say with Paul, "I will rejoice." Only a joy that is found apart from circumstances will be lasting. And that is found in Christ.
There are many hypocrites and phonies out there. Many will bring you grief. How will you respond? Why not make a decision to rejoice. Start now. Rejoice!