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Monday, 5 March 2012

Good News!

 "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Phil 1:27.This was the bible verse for day two of 40 days in the word.

As I was pondering this verse the phrase "worthy of the gospel of Christ" popped out at me. How can I "conduct" myself in a manner that is "worthy" of it? I started by thinking about being well-behaved but then my mind took a different turn. I began to think about the gospel of Christ and what it is. The gospel is often referred to as "good news." If the gospel of Christ is news what is that news and what makes it good? It is the news that Christ died on the cross and rose again. It is good because it is about forgiveness, reconciliation, grace and love.  We have been separated from God but he loves us and has made a plan for our return to him. It is the news that we don't need to try to gain his favour by our actions he has given it to us. I have done nothing to merit my status as child of God. It was done for me by him. He took the insults, the scorn, the nails and thorns. He died in my place.
I believe what the Lord is telling me isn't that I am to be "better behaved" than others but that I have been granted a great gift which I did not earn. I need to be aware of that. My inner attitude and outer conduct toward others needs to be humble, gracious, forgiving and loving no matter what.  I have "sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23) I live in His grace daily. I still sin, he is working on me from the inside out. Not everyone can tell that "I am a new creation" all the time, in all situations.

The other aspect of the "gospel of Christ" is self-sacrifice. Too often, in too many situations my attitude is one of self-preservation. I must look after my own interests first. I must make sure that I win at all costs. This attitude has done real harm in the past. I fight tooth and nail for My rights, for My position. I have been insulted, My pride has been hurt. The craziness is that too often while fighting for my own I actually lose something. I throw darts and wound those who are closest to me, and I lose a little bit of their trust.  In my lack of humility I abase the gospel of Christ.

For me Phil 1:27 echoes Micah 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

I believe the only way that I can achieve these things is to keep close to him, depend on him. I can't do this alone, I've failed a lot trying. Day three's verse says this "God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." (Phil 2:13) and what pleases him?--->Micah 6:8
I know that I will fail to live up to this at times but the gospel of Christ means that I need to confess, accept forgiveness, forgive myself, pick myself up and carry on.

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