For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 12
“To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Life is short. As James says, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14. With the short life we are given, we should live it for things that will last for eternity; we should live our lives for the Kingdom. What does the Kingdom Life look like? How do you know if you are doing it? In the following verses, Paul explains, the Kingdom Life is marked by:
- Fruitful Labor (v. 22): “that means fruitful labor for me.” This is the principle of “diligent dependence.” The Christian life requires hard work, diligent labor. This is us doing what we can do each day. Yet, it also requires a trust and dependence upon God to do what only He can do. Paul modeled a life of both diligence and dependence, which is the secret to success as a faithful Christ follower.
- Progress (v. 25): “for your progress” Do you feel like you are making progress in your life? In your faith? God is not concerned with metrics; he is concerned with progress. Are you growing? What areas of your life will you grow in your faith this year? Prayer? Bible study? Worship attendance? Giving? Disciples are made daily, not in a day. Take a little step to grow everyday and then take a look back and see how far you have come!
- Joy in the faith (v. 25): “joy in the faith” When we see God working in the life of someone we care about, it brings us great joy! “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:3-4 When we grow in our faith in Christ and walk in the truth, it brings “joy in the faith” to others! Part of the reason we do not disappear into heaven when we are saved is so that others might derive joy from our spiritual growth!
- Glory in Christ (v. 26): “so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus” When we are living for the Kingdom, it does not result in our own glory, it will always result in the glory of Christ! Never give the glory that Jesus deserves to a mere man (or woman).
- A life that reflects Kingdom citizenship by way of the Gospel (v. 27): “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” There is a footnote on this scripture which gives a little different interpretation of the Greek text – “only behave as citizens worthy of the Gospel.” The Gospel makes us citizens of the Kingdom. It is not earned, but freely given. Yet, there is a certain dignity that it demands. Phillipi was a Roman colony and its citizens were very proud of the privileges and honor of being recognized as Roman citizens. The honor of being a citizen of God’s Kingdom is far greater than citizenship of any nation or belonging to any other group, team or party. The word dignity means, “behaving worthy of respect.” Out of respect for God and our citizenship in His Kingdom, we too should conduct ourselves in a respectable way.
- Standing firm and striving together in unity for the faith of the Gospel. (v. 27): “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel…” We need each other! Our faith strengthens us, but we also strengthen each other’s faith. The author of Hebrews reminds us, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25. Our unity, faithful gathering and mutual encouragement is a powerful testimony to the truth of the Gospel!
- Bold confidence in our eternal salvation. (v. 28): “not frightened in anything by your opponents.” When we are not frightened by the world, we demonstrate the truth of the Gospel. When “man” is big and God is small, we will be unnerved and trepidatious in our testimony. When God is big and man is small, we will be lionhearted with your witness. Do not look at the size of your opponent, look at the size of your God! This is the Kingdom life!