“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, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.” (Philippians 1:27,28)
I am bothered by the conduct of many who “profess” the name of Christ but have only given the world reason to cast a wide net of accusation against the church. It is safe to say that the conduct of many are not worthy of the gospel of Christ. Do you think that Christ isn’t present and that even if He wasn’t He wouldn’t know what you are doing? I do recognize that none of us are perfect but it doesn’t require perfection to calibrate our conduct to walk in the way of righteousness.
How long will you walk in the ways of the flesh and take advantage of the flock? How long will you continue trying to cast the appearance of blemish on the body of Christ?
Christ warned us that many would come in His name, saying that He is the Christ and would lead many astray. For much of my life I’ve heard preachers refer to this passage as though Jesus was saying many would come saying they were Christ when all along many of them were doing exactly what Jesus warned of. They were telling us rightly that Jesus is the Christ but then they proceeded to walk in a manner that does not reflect Christ’s character, taking with them many who believed their deceitful messages.
Today, the church is under attack as it has always been but thanks to technology, it is more widely evident. The insider threat is great; the enemy has crept in unnoticed! Then again, this too is no secret since Jude told us two thousand years ago:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Still, I am bothered! I am bothered because our conduct as Christians have allowed the plans of the devil to advance because we choose to take sides. We choose to operate as if we are of the world and to be partakers with those who are of the world. We choose to indulge in the carnal things of those who do not know Christ. Our behavior as Christians have helped pave the way for sin to manifest itself without resistance. We have retreated from the front lines of the spiritual battle; retreating instead to our fleshly desires and giving in to our biases. Who is contending earnestly for the faith? Who is striving to be of one mind in the spirit? Who is striving together for the faith of the gospel?
Still, I am reminded that Christ is and will always be the chief cornerstone in Whom the entire body is being built up and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Our hope is not in ourselves but in Christ alone. Our salvation is not in our fight but in Him who fights for us. So yes, I am bothered, but my sorrow outweighs my distress. I am sorrowful for those who are dying; for those who are being led astray to go through the wide gates that lead to perdition. Still, our joy will be made full because Christ is on the throne and in Him we live, breathe, and have life!
Glory to God through Jesus Christ. Amen.