“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Paul never urges anyone to seek suffering. However many times we see him encouraging us to consider it a privilege to suffer for Christ. I don’t think any of us naturally considers suffering a privilege. Yet when we suffer, if we faithfully represent Christ, our message and example affect us and others for good.
Suffering has several benefits: 1. It takes our eyes off of our earthly comforts and makes us fix our eyes back on Jesus. 2. It weeds out superficial believers. Many times you are forced to think about what you really believe. 3. It strengthens the faith of those who endure. 4. It serves as an example to others who may see or follow us.
When we suffer for our faith, it doesn’t mean that we have done something wrong. In fact, the opposite is often true… it verifies that we have been faithful. Look at the book of Job for example. Use suffering to build your character. Don’t resent it or tear you down. So whether you are in a state of need or of plenty, suffering or thriving, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel that has saved you and brought you into a personal relationship with Christ.
How can you conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel during this season?