Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that is from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. ~Philippians 1:27-30
What does a manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ look like? Paul painted the picture this way:
Unity. The gospel produces a God-given unity in the followers of Jesus. Not that we always see everything the same or that we agree on every detail this side of eternity. But that we have a strong familial love for one another. We are children, brothers and sisters, of the One God; followers of the One Savior-King; filled with the same Holy Spirit; and focused on the same purpose: the exaltation of Jesus. This unity in our diversity is a beautiful picture of God’s saving power for the world.
Mission. The gospel produces a sense of Christ-centered mission. In unity of spirit and mind, we “strive side by side for the faith of the gospel.” In other words, we make Paul’s aim our aim. We strive to make Jesus known in all places, seeing people turn to him. We have a sense of mission because we realize that life is more than just what we experience in this world. Choices today have eternal consequences beyond death. We will either live with Christ and one another in eternal joy, or we will suffer the consequences of our sin in the hell of eternal torment. We are driven by mission because we want none to taste hell and all to know joy.
Boldness. The gospel also produces a boldness in our faith. There are many gospel-opponents in the world: Those who would rather enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, those who find faith foolish, Satan and his minions, and war, poverty, and other effects of sin. The Bible reminds us that we live in the midst of a spiritual war. Boldness joyfully and faithfully stands firm in Christ, despite the opponents. If we suffer as Paul did, it’s no strange thing, because Jesus also suffered. But suffering is momentary. Salvation is forever.
Unity, mission, and boldness all manifested in a life that loves and follows Jesus. Here we find the gospel-worthy manner of life.
New posts from this devotional series in Philippians will run most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.