Every generation confronts uncertainties and troubles. We today haven’t cornered the market by a long stretch. Can’t imagine the Great Plagues in Europe. Or as a Jew in Nazi Germany. Or as a Christian in North Korea. In comparison, I’m getting off easy.
Times may be getting tougher as a believer in Jesus and the Bible. That’s what a lot of preachers say today. Maybe. Maybe not. This is where a little phrase used by the Apostle Paul means so much. Hang onto it. Roll it over in your mind. Bring it to the fore at a moment’s notice.
What phrase? The one found nestled at the beginning of Philippians 1:27–‘Whatever happens…’ No matter what. Whatever life throws at you. ‘Whatever happens…’ In other words, be prepared, be a good Boy and Girl Scout!
Life overflows with the unknown. No guarantees. None whatsoever. Except that the Lord Jesus is in charge. Nothing gets by Him. He checks it out first and foremost, making sure we’ll be taken care of. Either here or there. Wherever and whatever.
But the Apostle Paul gives more than reassurance. He urges us to live like Jesus wants us to–‘…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ’ (Phil. 1:27). This is the hard part. I relish thoughts of heaven, of forgiveness, and life unending. Who wouldn’t? But Paul wants more from me. To live for Jesus now… and mean it.
I knew there’s a catch. Give me the sweet by-and-by any day, but live a godly life this very minute? You mean my blasted impatience should stop in its tracks? Losing it as a hothead on the phone with customer service people who barely speak English? I’m a busy retiree. I have a book to read. Sun to bask in. Get with it, people! ‘Conduct yourself…’ Hmm.
It’s time to slow down and be kind. Think about what Jesus would do (dust off that old WWJD bracelet, which doesn’t mean ‘What Would John Do’!), and live for Him. Get it?
‘Whatever happens…’ ‘…conduct yourself…’ Don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. Maybe a bit of heaven on earth will show up in your neighborhood. And mine!
Lord, I need to be kind. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.