Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Contending as one man...

"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 one spirit, contending as one man 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 on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have." Philippians 1:27-30

Christ is not divided; neither can his bride, the church be divided either. "Contend as one man for the faith of the gospel". As a man fights, he is not divided against himself as how he will fight. He will not try to strike a blow while at the same time flee from battle. He makes a decision and every member of his body acts to complete that decision. But if we scatter when we are attacked, this is evidence to our enemy that we are divided, and that we are not one in spirit.

What a awesome display of faith it is to see the body of Christ stand together, advancing the lines of the gospel to the world, and moving forward with one purpose, one spirit, contending as one man. When any member of the body is dealt a blow, the entire body reacts to protect it and restore it; it doesn't say, "too bad for you ear… you should have seen that coming… what? Yeah the eyes can see, but we didn't think it was necessary to tell you to move since we weren't going to be hit… sorry you couldn't see it coming… never mind that we have the gift of sight and have the duty to alert the body when we see an attack coming…" How our enemies will tremble when they see us stand firm when even the smallest, seemingly most insignificant member is attacked. No fear. No running away. Standing firm; wearing the armor of Christ, letting the Lord fight for us, for the battle belongs to Him.

Our faith is not in a pastor, preacher, prophet, apostle, or any other man - it is in Christ alone. Yes, we are truly blessed to be shepherded by those leaders whom God gives us, but even if God allows that shepherded to be taken from his flock, the flock will stand firm, for our Good Shepherd is with us, and fights for us, uniting us in one spirit, realizing that to die is gain, and to live is Christ!

And just as we know that we have been saved by His grace through faith which he freely gives us, we know that he has also chosen us to suffer for the sake of the cross. What a blessing it is to know that the world hates us because of Christ, for by their disapproval of us for the stand we take in Christ, we know that we are receiving what is due to those who conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.

No comments: