Word for Wednesday... Walking Testimony
Imagine a time and a place where people are divided. Cultures clash, Christian denominations can’t agree, and no end to these struggles are in sight. Chances are that you aren’t having to imagine much. These things are current observable realities. It feels like we have entered into a new era in human history. Most of us are just tired of having to live through historical events that are being recorded for our great-great grandchildren to read about. It seems as if everyone wants to define this new era with political strife, cultural division, and a world wide pandemic. It may be new territory for us but, the truth is that the world has always been like this. For all of recorded history our world has been in turmoil. What’s happening now is just par for the course.
So, how do we respond? As people of God how should we behave in a time like this? Without a doubt, the most sound advice comes in the form of Paul writing to the Philippians as he writes a letter from prison to them. Before we read what Paul says, it is important to understand what the Church in Philippi was going through. First, they appear to have faced persecution from those outside the church. Second, they were threatened by the possibility of false teaching similar to that which had infiltrated other churches. And third, they struggled with conflicts between one another in the church. Just like our lives today, sin and turmoil defined their world. Both inside and outside of the church sin permeated everything around them. But Paul, the man who established their church and raised up their leaders was not about to let the turmoil of the world define who they were. Even while Paul sits in prison he tells them this:
Philippians 1:27-30 NLT
27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.
In his prison cell Paul is telling the Philippians, “No matter what happens in this world our response should be to live a life that declares the message of Jesus Christ.” He says, that it is a privilege to suffer for Jesus! So today, live your life in a way that proclaims the Good News of Jesus. When we choose to live in this way others will see the love of God being displayed in a world full of turmoil. Let us become a walking testimony to the Gospel of Jesus.
– Pastor Phil