“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs.” – Philippians 1:27a
Paul longs to return to his friends in Philippi, for as he says in v.25, he desires to supervise their “progress and joy of faith”. But when will that be? Only the Lord knows. Paul must rest his plans in God’s sovereign hands. And so, he encourages them, “Only, let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
The word “conduct” literally means, “to conduct oneself worthily as a citizen of the city-state.” It was regarding how people were to live as citizens of the state. In Roman times the “city-state” demanded your complete loyalty, and you, as a faithful citizen, would give it willingly. When Paul uses the word “conduct” he’s not telling these Christians to conduct themselves faithfully to the Roman state, rather, he’s thinking of their heavenly citizenship, of how they’re to live faithfully as citizens of heaven in a pagan culture. He is compelling them to live their lives, worthy of the gospel, by being living testimonies for Jesus Christ, by letting their light shine among their neighbours, and by not compromising their beliefs or worship.
Paul urges them to stand firm lest they compromise their faith before the world. How is it with you? Does pressure from others affect how you live your life or express your faith? Remember, in Christ you are a child of God and a citizen of heaven. Therefore, your entire life, in thought, word and deed are to reflect that.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask the Lord to give you the strength you need to live a godly, consistent life. Do not fear the world nor be afraid to live out your faith or to worship God. Yes, you live on earth, but your citizenship is in heaven.
Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.