Monday, October 21, 2013

It keeps going and going...

One thing about Paul and his letters, they are very gospel centered. And Matt reminds us of this as he starts Chapter 2, by quoting Philippians 1:27.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Paul would not be a very good ambassador of the Prosperity Gospel. He has had too many things go exceedingly wrong in his life to promote a health and wealth gospel. But that does not slow either him or the gospel down. Paul is in prison, and guards are converted. Others become aware of this, and they become bolder in the proclamation of the gospel. Even when some preach the gospel out of bad intent, Paul rejoices because he knows that the power is not in the one who preaches, but in the gospel itself.

In Paul, at least to this point, I see a spiritual maturity that is almost beyond belief. No matter what happens, his eyes are so gospel focused, that he cannot see any bad, but only find the good as God uses more and more circumstances (both good and bad) to fuel His purposes. This is an amazing about-face for a man who once thought he was doing God's will by persecuting the church.

So I return to Paul's statement in Philippians 1:27. What does it mean to live a life worthy of the gospel? Is Paul calling them to a life of works? Is he saying that we must exert great effort if we are to please God?
I don't believe so. I believe that he is calling us to consider what God has done and respond in kind. Not out of duty or obligation, but out of a heart that has been transformed.

The gospel is our Energizer bunny, it keeps us going and going. When things look bleak, the gospel lets us know that there is more to life than our situation. When things are great, the gospel reminds us that our lives are more than the things of this earth.

And I need to be reminded of that daily.

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