Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;Philippians 1:27(NASB)
Paul's love for all the Christians at Philippi is very evident, for he keeps them in his thoughts, in his heart, and in his prayers. Paul's dear desire is that these believers grow strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and that they know the joy of the Lord Jesus in their heart as an abiding presence. And so, Paul is writing to this little band of believers while being chained up in a Roman prison-cell, to offer encouragement in their Christian life and to give instruction and direction on how to grow in grace and mature in the faith.
Paul was convinced that the work that God had started in the believers at Philippi would continue until the day of Christ Jesus, and yet his deep desire for these men and women was that their love for the Lord, and for one another, would overflow in great abundance and that they would keep on growing in knowledge and godly wisdom. He longed that they come to increasingly understand that which really matters in our earthly walk, and that they would live pure and blameless lives until the day that Christ returns in the clouds. Paul knew that the closer they walked with God, the more they would become like Christ, reflecting His beautiful character in their lives and so bringing much glory and praise to their Father in heaven.
Paul urges these believers to live a life that is worthy of the gospel of Christ, to live as citizens of heaven and not to be influenced by the evils and enticements of this wicked, seductive world: "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ," he writes, "so that whether I come and see you or am absent from you, I may hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, as you strive side by side for the faith of the gospel."
In a few simple words, Paul describes the godly behaviour that gives much glory to God. First, their manner of life should be worthy of the gospel of Christ. In word and deed, action and attitude, they were to become a worthy witness to a wicked world, of the glorious gospel of Christ that transforms a doomed sinner in the clutches of Satan into a saved saint; redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, transferred into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and living a life that is being transformed into the image and likeness of Christ.
Moral conduct was not to be dependent upon the presence or absence of Paul, for virtuous behaviour should never be slackened or compromised when a believer is alone, nor should there be a pretence of spirituality when in the company of others. Whatever we do, whether we are by ourself or with other people, ALL should be done to the praise and glory of God.
Another important behaviour that the Philippians were encouraged to develop and maintain, was the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and to single-mindedly stand firm in the faith of the gospel of Christ, in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.
As members of the Body of Christ and citizens of heaven, we should confidently walk the earth in unity of the spirit, and consistently stand firm in the faith that was once offered to the saints - with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith of the gospel and in so doing glorifying our Father Who is in heaven.
Heavenly Father, help me to live a life that is worthy of You. May my conduct and behaviour be uncompromising, whether I am alone or in the company of others. And may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to You. I pray that I may stand firm in the truth of the glorious gospel of grace and strive side by side with my brothers and sisters in Christ for the faith of the glorious gospel of Christ. He alone is worthy of our praise and worship, and it is in His name I pray, AMEN.
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