Gospel Living

Gospel Living
“But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” - Philippians 1:24–26

Selfishness is rampant in today's society. Doing things for one's neighbor or people in the community without expecting something in return has decreased. People only worry about themselves and how they can advance in life. The Christian, on the other hand, should be considerate of those whom they can affect through their choices.

Having mentioned the two choices before him (Philippians 1:20-23), Paul declares that to remain in the flesh would be of more benefit to the Philippians (Philippians 1:24-26). From these verses, we learn three keyways in which we should think and act.

First, Paul understood that for himself to depart and be with the Lord would be better, but he also realized that it would be more beneficial for the Kingdom of God if he remained (Philippians 1:24). He did not choose the selfish act that could have ended his suffering in this world. Rather, he took the selfless path by putting the Philippians before himself. How often do we take the easy way out because things might get difficult? How often do we pass up doing something for someone because it is an inconvenience or denies our desires? We should take the example of Paul and put others first.

Second, Paul not only put the Philippians first, he did so with a purpose (Philippians 1:25). He understood that his presence and continued fellowship in the gospel would allow further growth and provide a reason for joy (cf. Philippians 1:5). He knew that continued fellowship benefits the whole body. Sometimes believers forget the importance of fellowship, thinking that they can be alone with their Bible and online sermon, but we need to be around each other. We need to worship together, be joyous together, suffer together, grow together, and perform works together. We cannot do that by forsaking fellowship (cf. Hebrews 10:19-25). When is the last time you attended worship in person or studied with a friend? When was the last time that you considered how your presence benefits the body of Christ?

Lastly, Paul considered the way his absence or presence would affect the emotions of the Philippians (Philippians 1:26). He desired for the Philippians to be joyous and give praise to God for his return. We like Paul, should desire the happiness of our fellow believers. Sometimes making sure our brothers and sisters are okay will mean we have to give up something we might desire, but it is worth it. Too often people are more worried about personal comfort than how their choices affect others physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As believers, we should always keep our fellow Christians in mind before we act. Do you think about the consequences of your actions before you do something? Or do you only think about your own happiness?

Let us learn from Paul's example by putting others first, by continuing in fellowship for the benefit of the body, and by desiring the happiness of everyone in the church so we might glorify God together. Let us turn toward selflessness and worship God together.