From previous Philippians expositions, we looked at the establishment of the church in Phillippi by apostle Paul and his associates.
We’ve also looked at the situation Paul was in (imprisoned for Christ, not for political reasons).
In 1:27-30 he exhorts believers on how to respond in various circumstances of life- Literally, in “whatever happens…”
Life is full of uncertainties- some happenings that come our way may be good, and some not good. In life, there are good times and bad times. Life can bring both joyful moments, celebration moments as well as conflicts, sorrow, hardship, and confusion.
Paul, like us, faced various happenings of life. He experienced the ups and downs of life- both the mountaintop experiences of life and the valley experiences. There were times he was rejected, beaten, persecuted and abandoned for death. But there were other high moments of life when God revealed to him secret things, and generally he was greatly used by God in reaching out to the Gentiles.
Although there were strong established ministry partnerships with the Phillippian church, Paul had pressing concerns. Evidently, there were emerging false teachers (3:2), illnesses of close ministry associates/friends (2:27), relationship problems in the church (4:2), times of financial difficulties-when not one church shared with him in matters of giving and receiving (4:15).
But Paul chose to soar above these challenges/storms.
In whatever the circumstance, Paul KNEW (v.12,19,25) that:
- God is able to use dark moments to accomplish his purposes (v.12-14)- God used Paul’s imprisonment, chains, and sufferings in a profound way to advance the gospel, and through it many Christians found encouragement to proclaim the gospel more courageously and fearlessly.
- God is able to use envy and rivalry to advance his mission (v. 15-20)- he can even use our enemies to bring some to salvation.
- Things will turn out well for him- v.19.
- In the final run he will not be ashamed- v.20
- It will result into sufficient courage- to do more, to suffer more- v.20.
- Christ will be exalted- by life or death- v.20.
As Christians today, how can live in a godly way through every circumstance of life? (in whatever happens)
Instead of becoming victims and captives of circumstances, how can we be victors? How can we soar above the storm?
Here are some biblical principles that can help us today:
- Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (V.27)-
How can we achieve this?It involves living in a manner that pleases God, imitating Christ, and living a holy life.
We are called to live, think, act and react in a manner/pattern that is consistent with the Word of God. We should not respond or react as the world or people of the world do… we are different people… we should be gracious, patient, hopeful, joyful, faithful, and loving. Our conversations should be full of grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6).
Circumstances are subject to change, but as God’s children our responses should not vary with circumstances.
A question to ponder: Are we conducting ourselves in matters family, finances, relationship etc in a manner that befits the gospel of Christ/the people of God?
Sadly, many times, we adapt/conduct ourselves in manners worthy of our cultures and customs, traditions, experiences and circumstance.
We should be watchful of our conduct all the times- that is, not just when we are under a watch of our parents, employers, bosses, spouses etc but also in their absence. This is because we doing it unto the Lord.
- Stand firm (v.27)-
Paul reminded believers in Christ to stand firm unified in one spirit.
It is easy to be swayed by ideologies of false teachers, and mixed emotions from our circumstances.
But we need to be firmly grounded; by standing firm in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Simply, how can one stand firm? By:
- Being deeply rooted in the word of God; holding on to the teachings you have received.
- Embracing the freedom in Christ, Gal. 5:1.
- Resisting temptations.
- Although God make us stand firm, we also need to make a deliberate choice to stand firm.
- Putting on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:10-11).
- Praying that you stand firm (Col. 4:12) and Jesus instructions to his disciples before the betrayal…
- Being part of a fellowship of believers for shared life and encouragement.
Stand firm because the Lord’s coming is near.
- Be fearless- v.28
Circumstances of life (both good and bad) can bring fears (or, in other words, rob our courage)…
We can be subject to numerous kinds of fears: fear of the future, fear of unknown, fear of enemies, fear of failure etc. You only need the fear of God to dispel other fears.
We should not fear of those who oppose us (and God)… Gen 12:4; Ps. 2.
In whatever the circumstance, God assures us that we will be saved/delivered.
To overcome fear, we must have strong convictions:
Like Job- “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).
Like Paul- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-9)
- Believe in Him- v29
By identity we are believers; and by calling, we are called to constantly believe in God.
We should believe in Him who is above every circumstance of life.
Believe that God has good plans for you; and that His actions towards you are motivated by love.
In hard times, remember to trust in God, his word, and providence
- Suffer for him- v.29-30-
If we should should suffer, it should be because of doing what is good; for this is a blessing!
For, like Paul, we know that through suffering God can bring out something beautiful. Paul wrote to Romans, “and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” Rom 5:2b-5a.
Again, how can we maintain stability amidst confusing and all-round of life situations? How can we hold our heads up above our shoulders in all situations? reflect upon the five points above.
In summary, Paul knew that whatever happens, whether he is in prison or not, the gospel is advanced. He realized that even through his suffering something good happened- the jailer and palace guard believed in God.
In whatever the circumstance, remember God is at work. God works in mysterious ways. He is a miracle worker, and a way-maker.
Wherever you live, whatever your age, whatever your circumstance- live for God, stand firm, fear not, believe, and when need be, suffer for Him.