What events, trials, or challenges might cause you to doubt God? Would it take something severe—the death of a loved one, a permanent disability, a terminal illness—or something less severe but no less traumatic, such as the loss of your home or job? How would it be to go through that trial without the support of friends and family? In today’s passage, Paul encouraged the Philippians to be steadfast in faith and in unity with fellow believers.
- What difficult circumstances are you currently facing? How are you being steadfast in your faith and in unity with fellow Christians?
READ THE WORD: PHILIPPIANS 1:27-30 (ESV)
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What three things did Paul wish to hear about the Philippians (vss. 27-28)?
- In addition to belief in Christ, what did Paul say had been granted to the Philippians (vs. 29)?
- Knowing that the Philippians were going to suffer for Christ’s sake, why do you think Paul thought it important to encourage the Philippians to be strong in faith and in unity of community?
- How has the gift of faith helped you in times of suffering? Why is the gift of Christian fellowship and unity crucial in times of suffering?
RESPOND TO GOD
To live lives that were worthy of the gospel of Christ, Paul exhorted the Philippians to be steadfast in their faith and steadfast in unity with fellow believers. As fellow believers, we are called to live the same lives of faith and Christian unity. No one can do it by himself or herself. Suffering and pain are a given in a fallen world; but if we hold firm to faith in the good news that Christ died for our sins and encourage each other in that faith, we will live lives that are a witness to the truth of the gospel.
- Thank God for the trials in your life and the faith to stand firm in the midst of them.
- If you are blessed with strong Christian friends, thank God for them by name. If you are still looking for strong Christian friends, pray that God would show you how to go about building those friendships.