Stand Firm in One Spirit

Joy in Suffering

When I dropped off my daughter for her first semester of college, there was so much I wanted to say – that I would be praying for her, that I would be loving her from afar, that I hoped she would develop healthy friendships, that I wanted her to be true to herself and her God. However, I knew I had already said all that and much more over the previous 18 years – and this was not the moment for a repeat sermon – since she, like most college freshmen, was eager to open this new chapter of her life.

It would probably have been sufficient for me to say the words that Paul wrote toward the end of Philippians 1:

”Only [be sure to] lead your lives in a manner [that will be] worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I do come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one mind striving side by side [as if in combat] for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27, AMP).

Paul’s challenging words to his friends to live “in a manner worthy of the gospel” is not surprising – as it would have been no surprise to my daughter to hear me rehash everything I had tried to teach her over the years.

But Paul’s next statement -- “whether I do come and see you or remain absent”-- is worthy of extra consideration. Paul is making it clear that the way they live their lives is their responsibility – not his – and they are not to be dependent on his presence to make sure that happens. He has given them instruction both verbally and in his letters over time – now is the time to prove that they got it! As a parent expresses confidence in and hopeful expectation for their growing-up and moving-away children, so Paul was expressing confidence and hope in his believing friends.

The expression, “adulting,” speaks to this in today’s culture. You’ve heard some young people say they’re adulting when they get their first apartment and start paying the bills. As believers, we are adulting when, no matter who is watching or not watching, we still conduct out lives “in a manner worthy of the gospel.”

Most of us are paying bills, so part of our adulting is ongoing. However, are we adulting in our faith walk? Are we living our “lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?” Are we “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind?” Are we giving hope to others? Let’s pray that to all those questions we can answer “Yes, Lord!”

By Judy Shrout






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