Reading: Philippians 1: 27-30
Verse 27: Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
In today’s passage, Paul encourages the church in Philippi to talk the talk and to walk the walk that Paul himself has talked and walked. This is, of course, to follow Jesus – the original model. Paul’s opening line today is both challenging and inspiring: “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”. What a charge Paul gives to the Philippians and to all who follow Jesus Christ as Lord.
Over the next few verses, Paul unpacks what it looks like to live this life worthy of Christ. The first step is to “stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man”. Paul wants them to be unified under Christ and to hold fast to Jesus’ teaching and example. He knows they are stronger together than as individuals so Paul encourages unity. Next Paul tells them not to be frightened by those who oppose them. In this world trouble will come. In fact, Paul is writing them from prison. He is under arrest for spreading the gospel. Just as Paul’s trusts in and rests in God, he is encouraging the Philippians to do the same.
Lastly Paul says that it has been “granted” to them not only to believe on Christ but also to suffer for the gospel. He says they do so “on behalf of Christ”. Any and all suffering done on behalf of Jesus is a glorious witness to their faith in Christ. It reflects the promise that He and we will overcome the world. Just as Jesus willingly suffered on the cross for us, Paul gladly suffers for the sake of the gospel. He encourages the Philippians and us to do the same.
These few verses pack a lot. They are a great reminder of what worthy conduct looks like as we respond to our call to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. To summarize: stand firm, do not fear, be a suffering servant. All were modeled by Jesus. May we go and do likewise.