Monday in the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Philippians 1:27-30

It Has Been Granted that We Suffer for His Sake

I don’t like suffering.  I’m the first to run for a pill when I have an ache or a pain.  I worry too much about the course which our country is taking and what that will mean for my children and grandchildren.  Suffering just goes against my flesh which desires above all to be at ease and at peace—in a worldly way, that is.

In this brief passage, the essence of the Christian living in this world is clearly taught.  As in several other places, Paul exhorts the Philippians to “let [their] manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  I am told that this could be translated, “Only and always show yourselves to be good citizens, worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Martin and Hawthorne, WBC, 68).  The citizenship spoken of here is no earthly citizenship but the heavenly citizenship of which believers partake.  And it is the knowledge and experience of this citizenship that enables Christians to stand firm “in one spirit and one mind” and to strive “side by side for the faith of the gospel.”  And this knowledge of our true citizenship and fellowship with the saints in the true faith as we strive to live and proclaim it is our best defense against our opponents.  And Paul is very sure that we do and will have opponents.

But it is critical to understand that our citizenship is in heaven if we will be able to stand without fear, for it is this very ability to stand without fear that “is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of [our] salvation, and that from God.”  Paul is not speaking of arrogance or fierceness on behalf of Christians but that of a quiet and gentle spirit that yet fears nothing but abides in simple trust in God.  It was our Lord’s demeanor that so infuriated the Sanhedrin and Pilate, and then forced a Roman centurion to exclaim when he saw how he died, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).  It must be the same with us.  Let them curse and threaten while we bless and praise; such will witness to their hard and impenitent hearts.

And then that last line of this passage: “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.”  Did you hear that?  Suffering for his sake has been granted to us as a gift, we might say, from God.  Our Lord told us in his most famous sermon, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).  These are words I need to hear: Suffering for our Lord is a gift, for he suffered for me.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

2 thoughts on “Monday in the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time”

  1. Well-said. I don’t like suffering either. Lord give us grace to be as you were.

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