Alive for Christ
While Paul is in prison he writes an impassioned plea to his beloved brothers and sisters in Philippi. He says that while dying would be most beneficial for him it was more needful for them that he remains alive: and that remaining alive, for him, is Christ (1:21–24). He desires that they also live their lives together as “worthy of the gospel of Christ” and that they “stand fast in one spirit” and strive together with “one mind” for “the faith of the gospel” (1:27). What does a life like that look like?
It suggests humbling ourselves and having the mind of Christ (2:2–8). I believe that one of the greatest downfalls of our society as well as the church is an abundance of arrogance and pride. People do not respond to the gospel message, repent and confess sins, or ask for prayers of strength and encouragement because they are simply too proud to do so. James and Peter both state that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). But “humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).
It indicates being obedient and working out our own salvation (2:12). I have heard it said that grace didn’t save Noah, obedience did. Well, that is not entirely true. He was saved by both grace and obedience. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” God didn’t have to tell Noah what He was planning, and had he not Noah and his family would have died like everyone else. But He did tell Him, that’s grace! And if Noah had not believed and obeyed he would have died. But he did, and live. The same thing is true for us today (1 Peter 3:18–22).
It points to doing all things without griping or complaining (2:14). Few things are uglier than an 8-year-old throwing a temper tantrum: except for a 48-year-old Christian! Obedience and submission are glowing characteristics of faithful Christians. Do not “complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Corinthians 10:10).
It implies rejoicing (3:1; 4:4). There is no more joyful life than that of the faithful, hopeful, and peaceful child of God. We can rejoice “in hope” (Romans 12:12); “in truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6); “in the Lord; “in suffering” (Colossians 1:24). Not other life than the obedient and faithful Christian life gives you as much reason to rejoice.
It signifies never giving up (3:13–14; 4:1). The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint! It takes patience, longsuffering, and tenacity. It means pressing ahead one step at a time on those uphill, wind in your face, last mile of the way, climbs. It also means a steady, careful, and vigilant pace on those easy downhill reprieves. Be faithful (Revelation 2:10) in order to hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23).
It means being thankful and thinking on the things that come from above (4:6–8).
What does continuing to live here on earth mean to you? Would you consider death to be gain? These two questions are inseparable.