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.
Living as citizens of heaven means standing together with one spirit and purpose, fighting for our faith, which is the gospel of Jesus. That is how we are identified as belonging to Gods kingdom. This purpose unites us as a church. It is intimidating to face scorn and opposition from the world. Remember that we are saved, but also that struggles accompany our present lives. We should expect them; Jesus had them; Paul had them; and the church has always had them. Is suffering to be considered a privilege as described in this passage? I can’t quite get my head around that one, I prefer to think of it as an inevitable evil!
But I know that no one suffers or struggles for something which is not worthwhile or valuable. Our life in Christ now and eternally are of infinite value, and the privilege is in working for the world to hear the good news.
Do I look like a citizen of heaven? Does the way I cope with adversity show that God is my strength. These things are what will convict others of the value of Christ.
Lord God please mark me as yours through my behaviour in the good times and the struggles, so that I am a good ambassador for you. Amen
Written by Dimity Milne