I am challenged by the words of Paul in Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
That “whatever happens” means in great times, in bad times, and in COVID-19 times. It also includes those times when we are tired, hungry, and just plain worn-out. Even the times when somebody is stepping on our last nerve, we are called to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
That last phrase is troubling. As I look back at the last few days, months, and years I realize that I have not always conducted myself in a way that clearly portrays the gospel of Christ. I have many times fallen short of living in such as way as to make the gospel of Jesus attractive to someone who sees me. A lack of patience, a spiteful attitude, a short temper, a lack of care and love, each reflects badly on the gospel of Jesus that we are seeking to illustrate.
We can live with our eyes on the past, or with our eyes pointed to the future. We can ask forgiveness for our failures of the past, and we can take courage as we face each day forward. How? Take into consideration the words of Paul earlier in the chapter, “God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that He won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 CEV
This is good news. As we allow, Christ will continue to work on us; continue to sand off the rough edges, shape us into His likeness, and polish us, to reflect His wonderful character. God is not finished with us, and He is not about to give up.
“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of the Savior shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own. It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel! Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened and Christ would come.” CT 324
Though the devil would bring evil to break us away from our hold on Jesus, even tragic events can bring us closer to Jesus and make us more like His ideal for us. My prayer is that each of us would face every circumstance that comes our way as an opportunity for God to shape and polish us so we will reflect Jesus more and more.
Mike Edge, Presidentt