The Search for Joy
Suffering for His Sake
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Paul is encouraging the people to conduct their lives as citizens of heaven, realizing that the world around them only sees the Gospel by what they perceive or view in their lives. The word conversation, does not mean how we talk but the way in which we walk. We are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. The most powerful weapon against the enemy of Christ is not a stirring message or some book written about Jesus; but in the consistent life of the believer living out the Gospel day after day. “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). Let the world see Christ in your life, then you will be able to share the Gospel with them because of the conversation of your life has been transformed by the Gospel.
The sufferings of the Philippian and Macedonian Christians were mentioned more than once by Paul in his writings. “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Corinthians 8:2). With the privilege of knowing Christ as personal Savior, it is also a privilege to suffer for His sake. “ For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” If we suffer for Christ’s sake reproach and loss, we are to consider it a gift from Him. We are to strive together for the Gospel’s sake, not strive one against another. We are to be of one spirit and one mind, standing fast against any opposition of the Gospel the adversary may bring. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
Thought: Paul is encouraging believers that when they stand fast for the sake of the Gospel, they will suffer persecution. He instructs them to be consistent in living their lives as becomes the Gospel and in the end they will receive a great reward. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” ( II Timothy 2:12.) Paul instructs the people that there is a enemy that wants to steal this treasure from them and cripple the ministry of the Gospel; but God gives the grace we need to go through any trial and enables us to have joy in the midst of every battle.