October 16 – Prison Letters – Consistent With Your Claim

Read Philippians 2:1-18

As I read some estimates of the number of Christians in the world, I was surprised to see that many sources suggest that there are over 2 billion!  Translated, that would suggest that nearly one in every three people is a Christian.

Frankly, I rather doubt that number.  I doubt it on the basis of the definition of “Christian” I prefer.  “Christian” is more than a person who attends a church occasionally.  A “Christian” is not necessarily one who has grown up in a tradition.  To be “Christian” is not a default setting because a person would not classify himself/herself as an atheist, as Islamic, Hindu, or any other faith orientation.  No, to be a Christian is to identify the fact that you have sinned against God, who is holy, and then to, by faith, trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as your only means of rightstanding with God.

I hope that you are the latter type of “Christian”!  If you are, then Paul, in the first half of Philippians 2, describes the kind of attitude and conduct that is consistent with your claim.

Those united with Christ seek unity with other believers (vv. 1, 2).  In fact, Jesus Himself presented this unity as not only a defining characteristic of His followers, but also as a persuasive quality in the lives of unbelievers (Jn. 17:20-23)!

Those united with Christ act in humility towards others (vv. 3-11).  This humility will cause us to hold others in high esteem, yea even higher than we regard ourselves.  It will cause us to lovingly and sacrificially serve those around us.

Those united with Christ are characterized by obedience (vv. 12, 13).  Through this obedience, we are working out that which God is working in us.

Those united with Christ refrain from complaint and argument (vv. 14-18).  Talk about something that will set you apart from others!  This definitely will.  In fact, those who do so will distinguish themselves like stars in the night sky!

So, if you are a Christian, make sure that your attitude and conduct are consistent with your claim!

Steve Kern

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