Christ our supreme example!
Scripture reading for September 30th: Philippians 1:27-2:18
“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 one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel 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.” (Philippians 1:27-28) Paul wanted these saints to stand firm and live for Christ no matter what happened to him. There was no need for fear because God had promised to take care of His own. As they stood in unity without fear, this would be a sign to those who opposed them that God was with them and that they would be destroyed! God used some interesting signs!
The ultimate example of faith and trust in the face of suffering was Jesus Christ. Paul reminded the Philippians to imitate Christ’s attitude. “Who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-7) We are placed here by God to serve and obey Him. This was Christ’ attitude and it should be ours!
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out you salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13) Our obedience is not dependent on pleasing men, but God. Choices are required each day to cooperate with God in accomplishing His purposes.
Paul was concerned with this church’s witness after he was gone. He did not want them to back off from their commitment to Christ if he was martyred or if they might also be martyred. He was very aware of the temptations of the culture of that time. He wanted them to let their lives shine for Christ and continue to reach the lost. How much like Christ was Paul! May we imitate our Lord as well!