“Live as though you were worthy of the Good News. I might come and visit you but if I don’t get there, I want to hear good things about you — that you stand firm with one spirit with one heart, fighting for the faith of the gospel.” Phil 1:27 (Simple English Bible)
An important part of any team sport is defence. A good soccer team needs the two defensive men at the back to thwart any and all attacks by the opposing team. Many matches have been lost by a bad goalie, too.
Isn’t it the same with Christians? Shouldn’t we be standing firm in unity, shoulder to shoulder, ensuring that our common faith is secure? We’re to have one spirit — having the same desire and determination to keep error, sin and false teaching out of the church.
There are so many external influences which threaten to disrupt, distract and invade the gospel’s impact. Churches are under scrutiny and pressure to conform to the way the world wants things to run. (In South Africa right now, there is pressure being brought to bear for churches to approve of gay marriages and marry gays.) God’s way and the world’s way are often on opposing courses.
To ensure the team is strong, we as individuals must ensure our personal faith is strong in Christ. We are His servants, His wtinesses and His workmanship. It won’t be easy but I am confident that the Word will always prevail.
“Life is tough but a lot tougher if you’re stupid!” A wise man
A number of years ago, a man was running across the freeway in Cape Town and was hit by a car. He was supposed to cross over a bridge but decided to take a shortcut — his decision cost him a leg. The driver of the car was very distraught, visited the man in the hospital and even helped pay for rehab and crutches. A year later, the one-legged man was hit by another car, crossing the same freeway in the same place! Now, he has a wheelchair because he lost the other leg, too.
Stupid or just stubborn?
I think we can all ask ourselves the same question at times. We wonder what went wrong after we made a decision which we knew ahead of time that was rash or even wrong. We even might ask the advice of a friend but reject it because it doesn’t fit into our wishes.
The apostle Paul even wrote, “I don’t wish you to be ignorant, brothers…” and clarified things for their benefit. The amazing thing is that the Word contains everything we need for life and godliness (II Pet 1:3) and we don’t have to make stupid choices!
Let’s be smart. Let’s take the Word to heart. Let’s make the right choices.
“Since we have been made right with God by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Rom 5:1 (Simple English Bible)
There was an article in a magazine a little while ago about a man who walked across India on his knees. He did it to satisfy the gods and as a cleansing for his sinfulness. As much as I admire and wonder just how he accomplished such a fantastic feat, it also causes me to look into myself.
How do I make my life right with God? Must I also perform a superhuman activity in order to be released from my sinful self?
Paul writes to the Christians in Rome with such passion and clarity that we can have absolute assurance in our faith. It is faith which brings us into God’s grace through Jesus. It is faith to accept what we cannot accept. It is faith that motivates us to be His people in all and every circumstances. You can read it for yourself in Paul’s letter.
And it is faith which will count us righteous when our advocate, Jesus Christ, stands next to us in front of His Father’s throne.
By faith, my brother. By faith, my sister!