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. Phil 1:27
There are some really profound lessons from Paul. He is not a sensationalist, i.e. someone who exaggerates things to get people hyped up as many leaders and preachers are today. He is not a triumphalist who says “the chains don’t exist; you are free in Jesus’s name”. No! Paul doesn’t ignore his suffering and the possibility of death, but chooses to see God’s glory through them. Paul never denies that things may get tough and in this case that he may die. What he encourages his readers to do is no matter what happens (through good times and equally through tough times) to:
1) live right in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. The most important mandate that each of us have is to follow Jesus and to live according to his plan for us.
2) stand firm in the one Spirit. God’s Spirit unites us through the blood of Jesus. Our job is to stand together. You have heard it said that ‘united we stand’…true, but the command is also to ‘stand united’!
3) strive together as one. Paul doesn’t run away from words like strive because the Christian life is no walk in the park. I hope nobody ever told you that the road would be easy. The command is to strive together. Back to back we stand and fight. There will be those that oppose us, the biggest accuser being the devil, but we stand firm together and fight together to the end. God promises us victory and in fact, to be more precise, he has already won the victory.
4) not be frightened in any way. Whatever the enemy throws at us, our confidence remains in Jesus – in his grace and in his power.
Remember we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. Let us link arms as brothers and sisters in Christ and let us walk in the victory that he has won for us. Remember: it is good and pleasant when we dwell together in unity.