God You know it is hard for us to be consistent. You know that we often falter and shift things to meet our desires or comfort. I pray that today as we open the Word we are challenged to live consistently, being good representatives of You and Your Word. I pray we stand firm in the face of our flesh. I pray we boldly rest in Your arms, trusting You to provide power unto all good works.
24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Verses 24-26 contain the finishing thoughts of yesterday’s point. So we won’t go deeper into those. Suffice to summarize it in this: The Gospel is above all things, and should be the centerpiece and focus of our lives.
Verse 27 starts another point: living lives that setup the Gospel. What do I mean by “setup”? What I mean is living a life that makes it so that not only is the Gospel front and center but it is also pointed to in everything we do. Living a life that causes people to ask: why are you doing that?
I spoke a few weeks ago, in one of my sermons, about how most people do SOMETHING that if asked why they would respond “this is just how I have always done it.” I stated my desire is to teach our children in such a way that they begin to live radically different now so that in the future people will ask “why are you so radically different? Why do you care for people so deeply even when they hurt you? Why are you so committed to living like this?” Their response, hopefully, will be “I have always done it this way. My parents taught me this is how Christ lived and how He calls us to live.”
This is the life Paul is talking about here. A unified approach at living out the Gospel, “striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” I pray for a day that everything in our lives is viewed from the aspect of the Gospel. I pray for a day that when someone does something in the church it is for the sake of better displaying the Gospel or at least is evaluated on how it will effect their Gospel ministry.
I love what happens in verse 28. There is a boldness, a trust that is unwavering here. Paul says that they should be so confident that God will sustain them through suffering that their opposition should be shaken. Their opposition should clearly know: their God is going to maintain them and will surely pay us (the opposition) back for this.
Can we teach our children this? Can we teach our children’s to redirect their unwavering belief in things towards God? We have all experienced those moments our children believe, without a doubt, that they can have Spiderman powers, Unicorns exist, or they can have “ice powers like Elsa.” There is no changing their mind! Let’s redirect that unwavering trust and put it in our Lord. God has built a fail safe in our children, a trust and confidence that can easily be focused on Him. With great intention we can give our children a power that will make them soar!! 🙂
Lord, help me to trust you so strongly that others will look at my actions and know what You say is true. I pray that I live worthy of the Gospel. I pray that I can seek You above all things and truly walk in Your light.
This is going to be one we are both daily using and also saving in our “bag of tricks.” Instead of having to actually TELL someone something out of these verses, start evaluating your life. Look at EVERYTHING. Ask God, does it glorify Him? If we start allowing Him to prune our lives we will produce more fruit. This will ultimately produce a more fulfilling life. Though at first look it seems undesirable (losing things we’ve always had/done) it is like eating healthy. When you first start eating healthy it’s miserable BUT once the effects begin to take place you are revitalized, more consistent with energy, and you have more potential. The issue is, it only takes a few days to get off of the “eating healthy” kick. In the same way you will have to be focused on the long game for this to remain in place.
Our “saved” application here is remaining faithful in suffering or the face of opposition. Next time you feel offended or defensive in some way remain faithful and trusting. Whether it is due to some financial struggle, personal attacks, or whatever, stand strong trusting God! I believe if you do this you will experience miraculous sustaining from our Lord. It WILL be hard, especially because you are breaking a habit you’ve done forever. However, it will produce great change. 🙂