As I consider a busy last week and a busy next week, I am thankful for the opportunity to rest on a Sunday. We went to a packed house at church today before having fajitas for lunch and coming home to prepare for the following week. It has been a good day!
Sundays are great days to not only worship with other believers but also to examine the motives of the heart and mind. Sitting and thinking about what I would write tonight, I thought about my personal walk with the Lord and the example I want to set for my daughters. What would I want them to think about my life? What does a healthy Christian dad look like for them?
This verse came to mind:
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:15 (ESV)
It is my greatest desire, that I would emulate to the next generation how God would have them live their lives. My relationship with God has to be an example that they would follow. So what would that look like in my life?
Standing Firm in One Spirit
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm…Philippians 1:27a (ESV)
Paul tells the Philippian believers to consider their lives and make sure that it is worthy of the gospel of Christ. Which should be the goal of every healthy believer. To have an honest look at our own lives and make the determination of whether or not we are living to the standard of the gift of salvation.
Jesus came to give us life by giving his life for ours. In this example, we can find our example of living our lives in service to him and to those around us. If Jesus can give his all so that we can have life, then we are also capable of giving our lives completely to him.
We will never be disappointed in giving our life completely to Jesus. He transforms our lives and provides an opportunity to journey with him through eternity!
The standing firm refers to holding ground regardless of the danger or opposition. The original word is used of a soldier that would defend the position at all cost, even if it meant giving up their life.
For the healthy believer, it means holding fast to a belief, conviction, or principle found in God’s Word. Staying steadfast in the matters of the truth of the Bible and living in holy obedience to it. This is my goal for my life, to stand firm in my life and not allow the world to deter me from God’s purpose for my life.
It is so easy for people to be swayed by the world and allow their life to be determined by the enemy of their soul. The consequences of sin in people’s lives have damaging effects in every area of a person’s life. I want to be a man that stands firm in God’s word and purpose for my life!
Sharing and Striving With Each Other
…in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. Philippians 1:27b–28 (ESV)
Paul goes on to tell the Philippian believers to strive together for the faith. He tells them to not be afraid of opponents. He also says that as they journey in faith together, side by side, God will provide salvation.
It is interesting that God didn’t just want us to be in a right relationship with him, but to also one another. It was God’s design from the beginning that we work together for the purposes of the Kingdom. When we do so, He empowers the work that we do and be become impactful together.
It is a challenge to walk in the right relationship with fellow believers because we have various personalities, likes, and dislikes. Yet God has uniquely designed the church to work in tandem. Through His Spirit, we can walk as one with each other.
My heart’s desire is to show an example to the girls that I can walk in healthy relationships with other believers. Regardless of the hurts, disagreements, and expected challenges, I want them to see that relationships can be full of grace. Living like Jesus in my relationships with believers is key.
Suffering for Him
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:29–30 (ESV)
This is an interesting dynamic, especially in light of the western view of Christianity. Because for most, if we talk about suffering for the sake of Christ, we either don’t want to talk about it. Or, more often than not, we attribute suffering to someone arguing with us on social media.
In God’s sovereignty, he has graciously given an over-abundance of grace and the gift of faith to believe in him. At the same time, he also gives us the privilege to suffer for his sake which also provides a future reward. But we must understand the type of suffering that Paul is speaking of.
Whenever we live out our faith before the world, there will be the expectation of opposition. It’s not that we go out to find a fight, but the enemy will use the world to silence our witness. Understanding this, Paul wanted us to have the right mindset. He said:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— Philippians 3:7–9 (ESV)
It is my prayer that God would allow me to be strong in the face of opposition. My next generation needs to see me stand firm in my faith, work in grace with other believers, and face opposition with the right perspective. Being the example that God wants me to be, must start with my decision.
Serving the Lord with the full assurance it will impact others must be a driving force. I have a responsibility to live as an example to others. We all have that responsibility!
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