“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” (Philippians 1:27-28 NIV).
What does your life say about your relationship with the Lord? Do you live each day in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ?
Paul wrote to the Philippians one of his most joyous letters. After being run out of Philippi, unable to fully establish the community there, he heard that the Christians there were thriving. This news precipitated his joyous letter. He knew of the struggles that they faced from their opponents, but he encouraged them in the midst of hardships to live their lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
It’s interesting that while Paul enjoins them to live their lives in a manner worthy of Christ’s Gospel, he immediately transitions to his desire for the Christian community of Philippi: “I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” We can easily focus on the individual injunction—live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ—and because we are so individualistic in our society, that’s where we leave it. But Paul called upon each individual person to live in such a way that the community might stand firm in one spirit, striving side by side.
Our individualism often separates us from the worldview of the Bible, in which the “we” is always more important than the “me.” The “we” is composed of individuals called upon to do their duty, but that duty serves the “we,” the group. Paul reflects this idea. He expected the individuals within the community of Philippi to live their lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that the community could stand in one spirit and not be intimidated by their opponents.
Do I see my lifestyle of discipleship as significant to my Christian community? We should not separate Paul’s call upon the individual in how they live their life as separate from the testimony of the believing community. One makes up the other. So, how are you living?
Father, let us daily live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Through our lives and obedience, may Your community be unified in one spirit. Amen.