Philippians 1:27-30(NIV): 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, 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.
The first sentence in this passage is something that I need to be reminded of daily. As Christians, we must always strive to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. But the first two words of this passage is something that we often fail to fully comprehend: “Whatever happens” can be two difficult words for most of us to fully embrace.
If you listen to those who preach the prosperity gospel, you will hear little mention of passages like this. It has been my experience that life is lived one day at a time and there will be good days and also difficult days. How we react to and handle those moments serve to define who we are as a Christian. We certainly fail to prepare new believers in their daily walk with God if we don’t help them to understand that – “whatever happens” – we must continue to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. And this is also true of not only new believers, but those who have been followers of Christ for a long time. We must all be reminded that non-believers will be watching to see how we cope with the difficult and tragic moments of life as followers of Christ.
This week, I have been reminded that so many unexpected and difficult times will come upon all of us, believers and non-believers alike. We can’t anticipate or prepare for these moments in life, but we do have the assurance of knowing that Christ will be with us as we go through difficult times, and will help us to emerge stronger for facing these trials. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Paul writes that we are to “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” The world is becoming increasingly hostile to Christians and it’s crucial that all believers pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to stand firm against those who oppose our faith. So far, I have not been asked to endure many hardships for proclaiming the gospel message but that situation could change very quickly in the future. Christ suffered and died for our sins and we are encouraged to view it as a privilege when we face adversities and hardship in the name of Christ.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes: Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17). Will you view it a privilege to suffer for the name of Christ? Many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world are faced with that very question today. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”