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 one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 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. —Philippians 1:27–28
Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. Stand firm in one spirit. Contend as one man. Paul knew that his coming trial would be stressful for all believers. And stress, unfortunately, causes us all to act in ways that we shouldn’t.
It causes us to be rude, to argue, to fight … Paul wanted to warn them of the damage they could do not only to themselves, but to the future of the church if they allowed dissension to creep into their fellowship.
He wanted them to show love to the people who hated them, who hated Paul, and who hated Christ. He also wanted them to show love to each other. He wanted them to stand united, and to act as one man. His warning was important for them, and it is important to us today.
John 13:35 tells us “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” All too often, when the world looks at the church, they see fighting. Arguing. Petty disputes.
No wonder they don’t want to be a part of Christianity! They see people who claim one way of life, but live another. The only way that the world will know we are different, that we are Christians, is if we stand united, acting as one man and acting in a manner worthy of the Gospel!
It is my belief that Satan does not, will not destroy most of our churches from the outside. When a local body of believers crumbles, it is almost always an inside job! Christians fail to love each other.
We fail to stand united, following God and following the leaders God has placed over us. We gossip and slander, we fight and argue. And instead of a fortress, we become a crumbling pile of pebbles.
But when we act like Christians should act, loving one another, standing together for Christ, we become a citadel which cannot be destroyed. Let us paste Paul’s words on our hearts: Whatever happens (car trouble, disagreements, bad moods) conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Stand firm in one spirit (even when I don’t get my way). Contend as one man for the faith (even when I want to do things differently than my pastor or leader chooses).
United we stand. Divided we fall. —Aesop
Dear Father, Please help me to always act in a manner worthy of a Christian. Help me to love others, even when I disagree with them. And when you would have me follow instead of lead, help me to be a good follower.