27 Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together to remain faithful to the gospel. 28 That way, you won’t be afraid of anything your enemies do. Your faithfulness and courage are a sign of their coming destruction and your salvation, which is from God. 29 God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for Christ’s sake. 30 You are having the same struggle that you saw me face and now hear that I’m still facing.
Everyone loves sports metaphors to describe everyday life. Whether we say, “picked last,” “benchwarmer,” “get in the game,” or “team work makes the dream work,” we get a mental picture of what the person is describing, usually from personal experiences. Like a good coach, Paul is instructing and encouraging the church at Philippi in their call to live a life worthy of Christ’s gospel.
What does it mean to live a life worthy of Christ’s gospel? Paul has these specific points to make: You matter, you’re loved and you are called to discipleship in Jesus Christ. None of us are worthy to be on the “team” through our own merits. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins on the cross, and through God‘s unfailing grace we all have a place on the “kin(g)-dom team” working to transform the world.
As disciples we are redeemed by the Resurrection of Jesus to live a new life in Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit to be living examples of love. We are servants of Jesus and what we do everyday speaks louder than what we say. So there aren’t any “benchwarmers.” Everyone is called to “get in the game” with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness.
But just as one person doesn’t make a team, it really is “team work that makes the dream work.” Paul says, the “most important” thing is that we should “live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel.” It’s through community with each other that we are united, through the Holy Spirit, as one in “spirit and mind.” When we follow Jesus we will struggle against what the world believes, even suffer persecution for our faith. During these difficult times God gives us the grace to persevere through our suffering for the gospel. God gives us strength through Christ to stand firm, remain faithful and have courage to live a life worthy of the gospel.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
We are able to live a life worthy of the gospel when we work together as a kin(g)-dom team, united in spirit and mind standing firm and courageous in the faith. Going forward, what can we do together as a church, to live a life worthy of the gospel?
Prayer: Holy God, fill us with your Spirit to be united in spirit and mind. Grant us your strength to stand firm and be courageous, that we may be faithful and live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.