Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Whatever Happens

“Whatever happens, as citizens of heaven live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” TNIV

Phil 1:27

Whatever happens!

Paul was in prison in Rome. This was definitely not his preferred situation but he had a Kingdom perspective on his chains. “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” 1:12. This was obviously not his dream as he writes in the letter to the Romans, “ I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.” (Romans 15:28) At that time he did not plan a package holiday to Spain. His travels reflected his vision. “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” (Rom 15:20). He did not get to Spain.

He did not know what was going to happen. He was not in control of his circumstances. He faced the possibility of death or release. He was ready for either. He was confident that if he was released it would be for the benefit of others. Later in the letter he shared that he had learnt to be content in whatever circumstances.

On Logos Hope there is much that is happening that is beyond our personal control. How do we cope with all the change and uncertainty? We can easily become discouraged and compare this present situation with what we had in the past or be disappointed because it is not what we had expected when we joined. We do not know what is going to happen. We have not seen all the financial breakthroughs that we need. We are not sure if we will have the skilled workers when we need them. We do not know for certain when we will leave Kiel. We may find it difficult to experience God. These circumstances can at times be discouraging and lead us to focus on the problems without the opportunity to really help bring change.

Paul was not able to change his circumstances but he talked about a common experience of grace shared with the Philippians.. Hi lived in relationship to Christ and the good news as the priority of his life. We live by faith that the unseen reality is greater than what we presently experience.

As citizens of Heaven!

Our identity will determine how we respond to the situations we face in life. As citizens of heaven we can have a Kingdom perspective. If we are responsive to Him we can begin to see the realities of today in the light of our identity in Christ as sons and daughters of the Father.. What really makes a difference in eternity is what we invest in the gospel and in the growth of others. Our true identity is not in our culture, our work, the ship we live on, or our position in the organization. Our true identity is in our relationship with Christ. In Philippians 2:1 Paul writes.” Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ…” Later in Philippians Chapter 3:20 He write, “ Their mind is set on earthly things but our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is easy to be focused on earthly things and be orientated around our current temporary circumstances. We can very quickly lose perspective and follow passions that are harmful to us and others. A kingdom perspective is found in our relationship in Christ. This leads to humble service in the gospel. He makes the difference today.

Live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ!

Then, a life worthy of the good news is lived in relationship to Christ. This resonates through this letter. Paul described himself as a Bond slave of Christ Jesus. His identity was found in His relationship with the Son of God. That relationship defined how he lived.

Our true identity is in being united with Christ who is the Son of God. It is out of his identity as God the Son that he was free to give his life as a servant and went to the cross for us. Paul described the church at Philippi as being in Christ Jesus. He also declared, “for me to live is Christ, To die is gain!” He spoke of encouragement through being united with Christ. He shared his passion, “ To know Christ, the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.

So a life worthy of the good news is lived in personal relationship with Christ today in what ever situation we face. We have all the resources of God our Father in Christ. Our identity is not defined by what we do. It is defined by who we are in Christ. We are in relationship to the Father in His son. This gives freedom to serve with humility.

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