Ewald Schmidt

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 …Philippians 1:27-29 (NIV)

We are not in control of our lives or of the challenges we face in our walk of faith. But we are called to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ, whatever happens to us. What does it mean to live a life worthy of the gospel? Our Lord Jesus has come to this world as the Prince of Peace. He came to mend the broken relationship between God and man. He came to restore our broken relationship with our fellow man. On the night before his death, he taught some of the most important lessons to his disciples, to prepare them for their journey ahead. Twice, in John 13:34 and 15:12, he combined all the teaching of the Law, and of what He has given, into one new command. “Love one another as I have loved you …”

This is the gospel of Christ. We are called to be what we were created to be. We were made in the image of God, and God is love (1 John 4:16) When we love God, and our neighbour as ourselves, we are doing what we were meant to do. The gospel of Christ, of loving like Jesus, makes all the difference in life. It transforms families and communities, and when we really live according to the gospel, it has the potential to change the world. We are called to follow Jesus, to love like him, to serve like him.

But to obey and to follow Christ does not come naturally to us. It requires a lot of humility and self-sacrifice. Not our favourite words in the Bible! Verse 27 is not seen on T-shirts and bumper stickers. We know we must believe in Christ. We desire his blessings, we want good times to roll! But part of the life of a disciple is the possibility that we may be called to suffer for Christ. To suffer for Christ had been counted as a gift for the early church. Through suffering, the deepest value of the gospel is shown to the world: Christ is so important to us that we will gladly suffer rather than disobey or dishonour him. May we get to the deepest conviction of our faith, like Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we sometimes forget how deep your love for us is, and how great the price you paid to set us free. Thank you for your sacrifice, and your love. You have called me to follow in your footsteps, by loving others like you, by serving others as you have shown. Through your love, and our obedience, the world may change into a better place. Help us, as Christians, to unite in purpose, and to show the world your love through our love, our deeds, and our prayers. I want to declare today: You are my life! Amen.