Philippians 1:27-30 – A Life Worthy of the Gospel
There is something that you are constantly reminded of as a minister. Something that eats at the “old man” inside us – something that perhaps gets quieter as you mature in Christ but I would think would never fully go away until we are glorified. It’s the understanding that we can never measure up. We can never do enough, be enough, know enough, or accomplish enough on our own. We are totally dependant on God for everything. This is a foundational piece of the Gospel. Without it, everything falls apart. The “old man” hates this – makes war against this.
Human nature has a natural aversion to suffering. We don’t like it. Even those twisted enough to have convinced themselves they do don’t really. Suffering is understanding we are not in control. It’s unwelcomed, uninvited discomfort, and it’s guaranteed to those who would follow Christ. I want to be very clear here. Suffering has many different forms and manifestations. We will not all be subject to torture, imprisonment, or death like the Apostles and even many of our modern kindred in the faith. We will not all get cancer. We will not all suffer poverty or want. But we will experience suffering. We will feel the weight of sin and death on this broken world. Sometimes our suffering will be self-inflicted. Sometimes we will refuse correction and walk in disobedience. Sometimes we will walk in obedience but watch others walk in sin and be helpless to prevent it. We will all see death.
I don’t say these things gleefully, as if it’s my pleasure to dampen the nice day you may have been having. It is, however, my responsibility. The Gospel does not go forth without attracting those who would war against it – in either the spiritual or natural realm – and with war comes suffering.
This post is not about suffering. We will have plenty of time to discuss it as we get into chapter 2, but we must address it as we discuss what a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ is. A life counted worthy of the Gospel is a life lived in total dependence on Christ. Christ is all, and from Christ flow all things. This means that even suffering is to be embraced for the sake of Christ. We are to embrace war with our flesh, war with sin, war against those who attack Christ and His Church, war against those who defile His Word. We are to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). And in embracing such war, we embrace the suffering that accompanies it, knowing that it will eventually kill off this perishable shell that we may be raised imperishable.
I want to leave you with a warning. Beware the voices that want to pull you away from the suffering that accompanies the Gospel. Beware the voices that scream God’s desire for you is to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. May we ask God to increase our faith that we may endure the hatred of the world for the sake of His name. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,