Two gifts from God
Devotional Study by David Niednagel, Pastor / Teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P. method of study for his morning devotional time (study, observe, apply, pray).
1:27 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, 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. ESV
Just like Paul desired to have the courage to honor Christ whether he lived or died (:20) he now exhorts the Philippians to have the same mind and spirit he did. He instructs all who believe the gospel to strive side by side for the gospel, knowing that opposition and danger are sure to come. But they/we must decide together that when it does come we will not give in to fear but boldly and lovingly continue to proclaim Christ. Paul assures them/us that to be able to suffer for Jesus is just as much a gift as being able to believe in Him. Just as His suffering was a love gift to us, so our suffering is a love gift to Him. And when we live with that confident determination to suffer for Him the world will realize that we are amazingly different – especially if we return good for evil and blessing for cursing. That is what Paul means by “walking worthy of the gospel”.
This short paragraph is a summary of how to live the Christian life. Paul gives the motive and the method of all we do. It starts with our response to Christ, and then our values are shown in the way all of us together engage the world around us.. Even though each of us are to live this way, it has exponentially more impact when the whole church does it. It is unmistakable.
Lord Jesus, thank You for suffering for us, and thank You for the privilege of suffering for You. Help me walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, and use me to help facilitate groups of believers to do it together. Even though our small group is so diverse and scattered throughout the week, help us all have “the mind of Christ” (2:5), and help us do some things that re-present You together. Amen