Philippians: Living Worthy of the Gospel
By: Natalie Wiesen
September 18, 2017
Phil 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
In his book To Live is Christ, Matt Chandler asks the question what worthy means. He answers, “For Paul, it means ascribing worth. When he commands others to live in a ‘worthy’ way, he means we should live in such a way that shows what we believe is of supreme worth. For Christians, it means living in such a way that Jesus is seen as big, that Jesus is seen as glorious.”
So first and foremost, living worthy of the Gospel means supremely valuing Jesus, and our lives showcasing it. What are a few markers of this worthy life?
First a life of faith, as Hebrews 11 tells us. And what is faith? It is substance and belief. As Hebrews 11:1 defines faith, it is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It is deep knowledge that God “exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him,” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, regardless of how we feel, because God promises a good result.
Faith is active confidence in the God who has revealed Himself – not a vague uncertainty about an unknown someone. God has proven Himself real again and again, and if you’ve not yet experienced His reality, you can. Your faith comes alive as you believe the Word of God and act upon it.
Faith is not believing in a vacuum; it’s belief based on the Scriptures. God wrote a Book, a trustworthy, proven, inspired, true Book. Our faith isn’t in the stock market or a news feed or another person’s advice, no matter how wise and well-meaning. Though everyone and everything else fails or fades, “The word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 1:25).
Genuine faith always downloads into life. While we claim to believe all kinds of things, if they don’t influence the way we live, then we don’t really believe. When you’re willing to put yourself at risk, your faith in God becomes active. Only when you know God’s grace is your only option, when you’ve cut off all back-up plans and thrown yourself entirely upon God’s mercy—only then is your faith the substance and evidence God’s Word says it will be.
Another way to live a life worthy of the Gospel is to be marked by love, which encompasses kindness, compassion, mercy, and grace. 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. If we are his sons and daughters, we will reflect this nature of His. Furthermore, Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The world has one definition of love, but there is nothing more worthy and beautiful than the great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, in the Bible. I encourage you to read and meditate on it today.
We are also told that “God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all” (John 1:5). God is both unconditionally loving and brilliantly holy. He is wholly set apart and distinct from the created world. He is the reality behind all realities, the Creator, sustainer, and authority bar none. He is morally perfect and flawless beyond what we can even fathom and comprehend. While we will never be perfectly holy in this life, if we are his child, we will begin to reflect his purity and light in ever increasing measures as we walk with Him in trust and dependance. This is another aspect of what it means to live a life worthy of the Gospel. As Ephesians 5:8-9 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).” And 1 John 1:6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” There are countless exhortations in the New Testament fleshing out what it looks like to live in a way that reflects the light of God.
Faith, love, light. Let your life reflect Him today, not according to your own strength, but His in and through you.