Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Paul’s Christ-centered purpose in life not only presented him with a unique dilemma, but it also gave him a unique determination in life. When he wrote this letter to the Philippians, Paul had an intuition that it wasn’t his time to die yet, that he would have a few more years to preach the gospel. So he said, “If I live on, I’m not going to spend my time twiddling my thumbs waiting for the rapture. If I do live, I’m going to live my life with determination.” That’s what a Christ-centered purpose for life will do for us as well. In Philippians 1:27-28, Paul laid out his game plan for winning in the Christian life, and it’s a game plan we should follow as well.
First of all, winning in the Christian life takes integrity in your behavior. That word “integrity” means to be undivided. A person who lives his life with integrity is a person for whom there is no division in what he believes and how he behaves. Paul talked about that in verse 27. He said, Philippians, if you want to win in the Christian life, “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” That word “conduct” is a word from which we get “citizenship.” In other words, Paul was saying, “Live in a way that is consistent with your citizenship.” As Christians, we are residents of earth, but our citizenship is in heaven. And it is important that we conduct ourselves according to where our true citizenship is and not to adopt the values and the behavior of this world.
Second, to win at the Christian life you have to be united with other believers. Paul wanted to hear “that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” That phrase “striving together” comes from the Greek word from which we get the word “athletics.” A team can accomplish much more when they work together than they can individually. Paul said it’s the same way in the Christian life. You can accomplish more when you are working with other believers than when you are isolated. One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to try to isolate you from other Christians and then attack. Paul said we need to be connected to other believers.
Third, to win in the Christian life, you need to possess tenacity in suffering. Don’t give up when suffering comes. Paul said in verse 28, “[Be] in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you.” Don’t be alarmed when suffering comes into your life, Paul was saying. Realize this is a normal part of the Christian life. For example, you may be the only Christian in your home. And your decision to stand for Christ is causing friction in your marriage and in your family. You may be suffering because you are trying to live for Christ. Paul said, when that happens, don’t let it alarm you. In fact, he said, we can actually rejoice in our suffering.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Joy of Not Caring” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.