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 (Philippians 1:27 NIV)
When I read the Bible, I like to write my thoughts down in a journal. I have kept a journal now for 27 years, more or less writing a couple of times a week over those years. Much of what I have written about deals with the internal struggles of a man attempting to live for Christ in a fallen world. The early entries deal mostly with thoughts about the girls I liked in high school that didn’t know I existed. And as I matured, the writing turns to the personal challenges of faith, family and living out the daily grind (which it is sometimes) of life.
And then Paul comes along and I read “whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.” In looking at my journal, I have seen times that “whatever happens” has pulled my heart from a deep abiding faith. Other times the “whatever happens” has pushed my spiritual growth button into overdrive. As a husband first, father second, and pastor third, I long for consistency in the growth of my heart for Christ – but I have found it often be done in fits and starts. The white hot passion at times can quickly fade to a dull glow of habitual commitment. And then the cinders fanned into a flame again burn brightly.
Our experience as followers of Christ is marked by the forward progress of faith growing in us as we serve in his kingdom. May we, together, strive to stand firm in the one Spirit of Christ, striving for the Gospel to be real in our lives! Whatever happens – yep, that’s a good measuring stick!