in Philippians 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”. Like real surgery, many of us would rather be sedated and knocked out right about now rather than facing the living and active word of God awake!
The gospel not only reveals to us our inadequacy before God in that we come up short of the righteousness He demands, it also humbles the proud. It not only humbles the proud but exalts the repentant. It not only exalts the repentant to new life in Jesus Christ, it declares the guilty to be blameless and righteous. The gospel not only transforms us positionally in our relationship to God, but it transforms us from the inside out that it may accomplish the same in others. He wills trials and circumstances in life to accomplish the will of His word to shape us and conform us into the image of Christ. Not so that we can stand in the mirror all day and marvel at the extreme makeover, but so that we can reflect Him to the world. Sanctification, this process that God has ordained to accomplish the glorious reflection of His Son upon our soul and into the world, is something that we must ask more and more for if we are to know Him more and make Him known.
Just as the holiness of God is reflected in His character and His visible manifestations, He is transforming His people to reflect His holiness in their character and visibly in their humble service through word and deed. The apostle Paul is such a great human example of a man transformed from a bold blasphemer to a bold preacher. We can see how God shaped his life and the world around him to further the message of Christ through him so that the gospel would move. Not only did the gospel have an impact on the world but upon the church as well. Paul says,
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
Let us lie upon the examination table of God and allow the scalpel of His Word to do open heart surgery.
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (v.12)
Ask myself: Do trials and circumstances in my life serve to advance the gospel?
As a servant of Christ Jesus I must examine my life to see whether I am willfully bending to the Potter’s tool. He’s going to accomplish His purposes; they never fail. But are we prayerfully and submissively demonstrating our faith in our actions and reactions to trials, victories and failures. It’s easy to praise Him in the victories of the gospel and the blessings of life, but what about when the Lord takes away? Is His name still blessed to us? When we fail do we turn inward or upward? How do we react to surprising news or events? Do we come unglued or do we cling tight to Him? In every trial and circumstance in life we have the unique privilege of being partakers of grace and advancing the gospel. In Paul’s case, he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, but the divine word of God cannot be imprisoned (2 Timothy 2:9). Paul recognized that his sufferings did not serve as a wet rag on top of his fire, but as diesel-soaked kindling.
“so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” (v.13)
“And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (v.14)
Philippians 1:27, which says, “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”.
So let us strive side by side for the faith of the gospel, church. Amen and amen! Come, Lord Jesus. Come. Find Your church ready, radical, and on the move.