Friday, March 23, 2018
Philippians 1:27-30 So that… 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, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 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, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
When I was a young boy, I remember sitting in the back seat of the car with my brothers as we would accompany our parents to the home of someone from our church. My dad would be going there in an official capacity as a pastor, and we were along because the whole family had been invited for dinner. I specifically remember the little speech we would get along the way. It included a simple admonition to behave, along with the traditional “sit still and be quiet,” and “use your manners.”
I knew what it meant to behave myself in a way that would honor my parents because I had been taught the specifics at home. I didn’t always do it (you can ask me about the time at Miss Stevens’ house), nor did I always think the expectations on me were fair. But I knew what I should be doing to conduct myself in a manner worthy of being a pastor’s son.
Paul makes sure the people in the church at Philippi know what it means to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ by telling them the conduct code. Here are the four rules of Christ-like conduct Paul gives us in this passage:
- Stand in one spirit firmly – Don’t let disharmony occur within the church. Keep focused on God’s purpose and plan, not your preferences. Bear with one another’s faults and failures. Encourage one another. Love and forgive one another just as Christ loved and forgave us.
- Share the workload fervently – Paul says, “striving side by side.” Become as one person doing the work of God. Let each member of the body of Christ do its work so that the whole body grows together to efficiently and powerfully accomplish God’s purpose.
- Strive for the faith fearlessly – Don’t let any opposition stop you from carrying out the ministry God has given you, both individually and as a church.
- Suffer for Christ faithfully – God has granted us the privilege of complete understanding of our union with Christ through our suffering like Christ. Don’t run from suffering, but embrace Christ in your suffering.
There you have it – the four fundamentals of conduct worthy of Jesus Christ. Study them. Memorize them. Be changed by them. When you wake up every morning and hear your heavenly Father say, “Behave yourself,” you’ll know exactly what that means and how to do it.