My Witness Among the Body
Philippians 1:27 “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 the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”
During one of the sermons in the Philippians series, this word from Paul brought me a conviction. Philippians 1:27b says, “…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel… Then… I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” Paul describes the seriousness of maintaining our testimony in the first part of the verse, but then takes it to another level by telling us that maintaining our testimony isn’t enough, but rather we should ensure we are maintaining our testimony among other believers. Firm in one spirit; working together not just for the same purpose, but for the right purpose - because people may be working together in agreement, but for a bad purpose. And that's why Paul tells us, “fighting together, in one accord and for the right cause, a union based on faith and for the gospel.”
Let me explain, you see, many Christians know very well how to keep their testimony strong among those who don’t know the Lord, yet do a horrible job in maintaining their testimony among other Christians. For instance, by simply telling a non-believer that you “…go to church every Sunday,” chances are, you’re automatically a saint in his eyes. Yet when you tell another believer that you “go to church every Sunday…” they probably won’t be as impressed and will counter with saying, "You go to church… so what? You should already do that. How specifically are you involved in the expansion of the gospel? Are you using the gift that God gave you for the edification of the body of Christ?” They might have no mercy. And if the answer to any of these questions is "no," then you aren’t properly maintaining your testimony among the body. You are not living or behaving in a way that is “worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Churches are filled with many members who have been living like this for years; they don’t even know a moment has come when living in such a way became pitiful, pretending to be something they’re not - and nobody is buying it.
An adult who thinks they’re good at sports and begins taking advantage of little kids as they play soccer. The kids think the adult is really good, yet when some legitimate athletes come on the field and sees him, they’ll start laughing and say, “You might be fooling them, but you aren't fooling us."
You see, the same goes for the church and those who claim to be Christians. You might be able to mislead others who do not know the ways of the Lord, but among those who know the true godly lifestyle, the seasoned Christians, not so much. My challenge for us is that we behave like that which we are, Christians! Coming to church is good, coming to Sunday School is good, coming to prayer service is good, coming to small groups is good, but if you're not constantly serving and getting involved in some way and using the gift that God He gave you, if you don't keep your testimony among your family of faith...then you should be ashamed of yourself. I invite you to pray about this and allow God to enlighten you about what you need to change to keep your testimony strong, among all – Christians and non-believers.