Holy Decorum Under Pressure

7 Aug

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – Philippians 1:27

The King James version says, “let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel…” Matthew Henry’s commentary states that

“Those who profess the gospel should have conversation that ‘becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend on gospel promises.'”

This is prefaced by the circumstance “whatever happens.” No matter if you are being persecuted, ridiculed, facing unbelievable hardship, or having doctrinal disputes with others in your congregation, there should be no tension in your voice, no return of threats with harsh retorts.

Essentially, Paul is saying that the Christian life is not free from challenges, but that is no excuse to abandon holy decorum and godly behavior. Paul encouraged the Philippians to follow his example and shared openly the abuse and hardships the encountered for the sake of the gospel. While Paul urges them to stand firm, a defensive posture, he also encourages them to contend as a unified army.

In other words, we take on the posture of a suffering warrior. The enemy does not relent, sending volley upon volley into the camp of Christian soldiers. But if we link our hearts together and speak boldly the Truth of the gospel, our suffering will not destroy us. We will be strengthened by the Spirit of God as we use our conversation as a balm for one another.

Believers and non-believers alike may come at us harshly. We must remain calm, assured, and civil. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” (John 13:35) You may be in a battle, but you must remain in control, or rather under the Spirit’s control. He will strengthen you to stand firmly but with kindness.

Holy decorum is not a suggestion for when things are going well, it’s a command for “whatever happens.” Let’s commit to ensuring our behavior is worthy of the gospel.

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