I wanted to share a quick thought with you all that I had last week while reading the Scriptures. It comes from Philippians 1:27-30, which says:
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 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 ESV)
What occurred to me after reading this is what living in a manner worthy of the Gospel actually entails. In this passage, which is a complete paragraph by the way, what is described is striving side by side with others for the Faith and standing firm against opposition. Suffering for the cause of Christ is also described as an honor. For my part, I find it hard to see this attitude in American Christianity these days. Suffering is at least being talked about these days, at least in some Christian circles, but from my experience it seems to focus mostly on helping people to endure it. And while this is certainly a good thing it doesn’t give suffering the place that Paul bestows on it in this passage, that it is an honor to suffer for the cause of Christ. How transforming would it be not only for us personally, but for American Christianity as a whole, if suffering was elevated to the level of being honorable?
Also, being conflicted between continuing to live in the flesh and departing to be with Christ (the “conflict” in the last sentence; see Philippians 1:18-26) should be expected. Do we have this attitude? Do we experience this conflict frequently in our lives? I know that I don’t, but I also know that I would like to.
This is conduct worthy of the Gospel, how does it compare with what you have been taught is conduct worthy of the Gospel?