Nowadays, in what could be called the i-Culture, a major focus is on self-improvement, self-advancement, or simply, self-gratification.
But does all that focus on self lead to a worthy life?
The wrong focus
The focus on self in our present culture is at complete odds with the call of Jesus to follow Him (Luke 9:23). This needs to be kept in mind reading this exhortation from the apostle Paul.
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27 NKJV)
Obviously, a focus on self is a far cry from what the apostle Paul had in mind. But what does Paul mean by, “let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ”? A natural inclination is to focus on behavior, which is the general meaning of the word conduct.
Sadly, the Christian life is too often morphed into an effort of behavior modification, sometimes referred to as a works-based righteousness.
[bctt tweet="The Christian life is too often morphed into an effort of behavior modification" username="tkbeyond"]
This moralistic approach to Christianity becomes a substitute for living in a manner “worthy of the gospel,” and is not what Jesus expects of His followers.
Out of focus
Our behavior doesn't need to be modified, it needs to be radically changed but from the inside out. How? We need to have a Kingdom of God view of life rather than a moralistic human view.
Jesus calls us to deny our self, not modify ourselves. We're called to die to self, not dress it up.
[bctt tweet="Jesus calls us to deny our self, not modify ourselves" username="tkbeyond"]
Jesus calls us to exchange our old life for a new life in relationship with Him. He calls us to be alive on the inside, but dead to the worldly self on the outside. But this relationship with Jesus is not an individualized pursuit.
The right focus
Paul's focus in this text is on the community of believers called the church, which is confirmed in Philippians 2:1-5. This requires commitment to a community of believers, as well as a personal commitment to Jesus.
This type of commitment was never to be optional. It was expected.
[bctt tweet="Commitment to a community of believers was never to be optional, it was expected" username="tkbeyond"]
We need each other in the Body of Christ if we want to live a life worthy of the gospel. Fellowship with other like-minded believers will help us live a consistent godly life.
When we worship and serve together, we're focused on Jesus, not ourselves.
Some questions to consider and final thoughts
Are you trying to be a good Christian person, or living by faith and following Jesus as He intends all believers to do?
How do you view spiritual maturity? Is it based on moral goodness, or spiritual soundness in agreement with God's Word?
If you want to live a life worthy of the Lord, choose to be connected with other like-minded, spiritually mature believers. Not just for a week, but on a continuous basis. This will require self-denial and dying to self, but it will be more than worth the investment.
This is an edited version of a guest post on Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale's Daily Devo blog here— A Worthy Life
Next week I'll return to the study in Psalms—but a change is coming so stay tuned!
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