PHILIPPIANS 1:27-30: “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.” NLT
OBSERVATION: As we look at the world around us, as we witness the erosion of our culture, how should we respond?
WE SHOULD LIVE!
I remember growing up saying the pledge of allegiance in my classroom, and starting each day in prayer. We were brought up with respect for our country, our flag, and one another. As I have gone through my life I have witnessed this world fading away. All of the things I once held dear seem to be a distant memory. There is a sadness that fills my heart. How should I respond to all of this?
I SHOULD LIVE!
I need to remind myself where my true citizenship lies. I am a citizen of heaven, a child of God, destined for eternity. My highest allegiance is to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am called to be a good citizen, to be responsible, to pay my taxes, and to vote. However, my higher calling is to live for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am to be joining, hand in hand, heart to heart, with all those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ as Lord, and fight the good fight of faith.
Sometimes as we do this we grow discouraged. It seems that we are constantly swimming against the current. The reason it feels this way is because that is exactly what we are doing. We are called to live as lights in this world. If we are the light, then the world is in darkness. If we do not shine – then there will be no light.
I will never forget a kayaking trip I took with my daughter. We paddled down the Brazos River in North Texas. There was a strong wind and the journey was hard. We stopped on the side of the shore to rest. When we got back in the kayak my daughter said – “Dad, we are going the wrong way!” To be honest, everything looked the same, and I did not know where we were. The wind was blowing so hard it appeared we were paddling upstream. I reached my arm deep into the water and I could feel the current. We were going the right way. Everything was working against us – but if we turned around we would have never reached our destination.
Our call to live for Christ is much the same. Sometimes we get discouraged because of the headwinds of culture that are blowing against us. We need to realize we live in a Post-Christian culture. To live for Christ is a call to live counter-culturally. And, as we do, we must never forget –
- “Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”
Life is a struggle. It was for Jesus, the apostles, the early church, and it will be for us too! We must rise up in faith and refuse to be intimidated by those who oppose the truth of the Gospel. We must be willing to suffer for what we believe – even to the point of death. If we lift our lights high, then others will be able to find their way out of the darkness. If we retreat, then we become part of the problem.
There is one more thing we need to remember. We are not in this struggle alone!
- “We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.”
We are not called to let our solitary light shine like a flashlight in the darkness. We are called to join together as one light, one body, one family of God. Together, we are called to be a lighthouse. And, as we shine together, as we live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are called to encourage one another through the difficult struggles that we face.
Lord, I know that many today are discouraged as they look at the world around them. You said – “When you see these things begin to take place, then look up, for your redemption draws near.” Help us to live our lives as citizens of heaven, looking up, shining bright, and proclaiming the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord! Today…
HELP ME TO LIVE!
In Jesus Name!