Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I have always loved the book of Philippians in the Bible. It would take way too much to go over all the passages that have spoken to me over the years. But a few thoughts come to mind from the series on Disciple that Pastor Brandon just finished. The particular verse I am thinking of is Philippians 1:27: ”Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
First of all, just for review we need to remind ourselves, what a disciple is. A disciple is one who follows someone or some thing with all their heart. You can be a disciple of football or some other sport. You can study games and players and make it your life work. You can also be a disciple of a person. You are a disciple of anyone you give your allegiance to. It could be a coach, or your yoga teacher, or a politician. In our case we should be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Second, what does it take to become a disciple of Christ? As you may remember, Pastor Brandon gave nine marks of a disciple. For this post I will just mention the first mark. A disciple is one who counts the cost to follow Christ, then denies himself and takes up the cross. Denying self is not the same as self denial. Anyone can implement self denial in their lives for some cause. Dieting is a prime example. You set a goal and calculate what you have to do to reach it. Self denial is usually for a specific period until the goal is reached. Then it’s time to celebrate.
Denial of self on the other hand is a day by day decision to take actions that will make you more like the one you are following, in our case, Christ. It is slugging it out in the mud day by day so that we can conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of our calling.
I have been reading a book by Matt Chandler that talks about this: He says of living a life worthy of the gospel that: “It looks like dying with Christ to one’s self and being raised in Christ to walk in newness of life with our brothers and sisters. It means living grace-filled lives that grant patience and mercy and gentleness for the spiritual journeys of others and a respect for the differences and idiosyncrasies we all bring to the Lord’s table.”
I’ll end this with another quote from Matt Chandler that is really meaningful: “The gospel of Jesus Christ is worth living for, yes, and it is worth dying for, of course, but we show it is supremely valuable to us when we deny ourselves and take up our crosses to be a blessing to the people who the gospel is calling us to. No more ideological pendulum swings. No more being swayed by every wind of false doctrine. No more being moved to and fro by speculations and myths and doubts of self-interest. Instead we (together) stand “firm in one spirit” (Phil. 1:27)”
I pray the Holy Spirit will make us all better disciples of Christ and show us how to live a life worthy of the gospel.