“Whatever happens conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Philippians 1:27 (NIV1984)
Whatever happens? Really? Does that mean like in all things? In business and relationships? Like in financial crisis or sickness or family conflict? Or in job loss or in parenting or on social media? Or when I am completely stressed to the max? What about then?
Paul says in whatever happens. The ESV says “only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Only. Not sometimes. Not in certain circumstances. Again, Paul challenges my heart. Remember, Paul was sitting in a jail cell when he wrote this. He had every right to bitter, hurt, and angry. After all, he was trying to do what God had called him to do and look where it landed him.
Sometimes we may feel the same way. We feel like we have been trying to do all the right things and __________ happens. Our emotions get the best of us and we find that we may NOT be conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of Christ.
It’s hard. Just recently I was challenged by a family member and I got my feathers ruffled. I was trying to do the right thing, trying to help in the middle of a difficult situation, and it landed me on the other end of some unpleasant and unnecessary words. I was not a happy camper.
My first response was to fight back and caught myself in the middle of an argument. But then I started praying. And, praying. And, praying. Ok, so may have taken me a minute, people. I realized that more than anything I needed to act in a way that pointed to Christ. Afterall, I had been studying this very passage of scripture. Funny how that happens.
Paul said, “And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.”
(Philippians 1:20b NLT)
Paul lived it out. Right there, in the middle of the jail cell, he said, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12 NIV1984). He could have cast blame, he could have complained, he could have given up, he could have tried to escape.
Instead, he continued to be faithful. He continued to live out his calling from Christ. He continued to live in a manner worthy of Christ and to use his circumstances to bring honor and glory to God.
That's how God has challenged me this week, friends. Will you allow this scripture to challenge you, too?
Take Away Tips
Spend some time in prayer and evaluate your own life and circumstances.
Read and pray Psalm 139:23-24.
What areas of your life do you live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?
What areas of your life do you struggle to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?
Ask the Lord to help you identify the adjustments needed.
Photo by Mark Marquez on Unsplash