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,[a] 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.
Paul is speaking from prison in this passage. He is speaking words of encouragement to the people in Philippi even in the midst of his difficult situation. These words can be an encouragement to us too. He asks that we base our lives on the reality of the gospel of Christ. Reading the verses leading up to this passage gives us a picture of what he means. He speaks of being filled with love in all he does. He speaks of being filled with the fruit of the Spirit. He asks that these people will receive grace and peace across their lives. He prays for their love to grow and increase beyond measure bringing rich spiritual insight in all things.
These are indicators of how faith in God is growing in each of us – our ability to love, to be kind, to have peace and to bring grace. Living life with Jesus enables us to grow in these characteristics. Given how the world works and how that is likely to make us feel, having these characteristics will mean we will seem different – we will stand out. We will bring our faith into every situation and we will bring God’s love to everyone we meet. This is what Paul did – even in prison he cared for the guards, for everyone in the churches he started and for everyone who had yet to hear about Jesus. He brought love and kindness, peace and grace. What a great idea!
Thank you, Jesus, that you love us beyond imagining and that you can help us love others beyond what we can imagine. Thank you that you brought Good News not just news when you came to save us. Thank you that your message is about your love for us – that you loved us enough to die for us before we were even thought about and that there is now nothing that can separate us from you and your love. Help us to live out that love that we can source from you. Help us to bring your light into our part of the world on a daily basis. Amen
Written by Therese Manning