“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” (Philippians 1:27-28).

The natural human being is separated from God.

The decision we made in Eden, to disobey God’s will, provoked the spiritual separation between the human being, each one of us, and God.

It may seem an injustice, but it is the same thing that happens when a married couple leaves their homeland and moves to another country. If they do not act explicitly and go to their consulates and register the birth, their children lose the nationality of their parents and acquire the nationality of the country of birth.

And all of us were born outside of Eden, so we only have the nationality of this world.

Some might think that this is solved by reclaiming from God the citizenship in which Adam and Eve were created.

But we have a serious problem, and that is that we do not have the right to claim the “spiritual nationality”for a simple reason, Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, that is, they became stateless, deprived of their previous spiritual nationality and the right to claim it again.

And thus they became subjects of the prince of this world.

“…for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:23

“…after the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”

Ephesios 2:2

But God did not want to leave things like that. He knew that outside of our environment we were going to be miserable, and he gave us time to see for ourselves.

And then he opened a way for us to re-adopt that heavenly citizenship that we had in the beginning, and that is the true will of God.

But it was not a road to which we were entitled, we could not claim it, nor could we buy it; because the price is so high that it is impossible to pay. Not even for that 1% of the population that holds 90% of the world’s wealth.

Because its price is the price of your life. It is impossible to value a human life.

But God could. He paid the price through the sacrifice of Christ, and then made this way available to all. It is a gift, a gift from God for humanity in general, and for each one of us in particular.

And it is a gift of love.

It is not something that God owes us, nor is it a right that we have somehow acquired.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

Nor is any previous penance or good deed necessary to be worthy of it.

The only work required is to accept it. It is to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.

And if you do so, God receives you as His child and registers you in the Book of Life; the one in which the names of all those who will be able to stand before His presence for all eternity are registered.

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:15

Having this spiritual nationality opens up infinite possibilities. For example:

  • You can count on God’s presence in your heart.
  • You can count on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • You can count on his power and mercy.
  • You can count on his peace.
  • You can count on their comfort.

Now, just as when you adopt a new nationality you are obliged to know and keep the laws of that country, even if you are “abroad”, obtaining spiritual citizenship also has its responsibilities.

And if you have adopted spiritual citizenship you have to know its “Constitution” and its “rules”; and most importantly, you have to live them.

Because the Word of God is not an endless set of legal and rambling rules, it is a book of life. And if the Gospel has impacted your life, it must produce changes in it.

Because no matter how ethical your life has been up to the moment of your conversion, the level of love, justice and holiness that God demands is infinitely superior.

So much so that it is impossible to fulfill by our own strength, as the Israelites learned throughout the Old Testament.

God is perfect, but not with our concept of perfection, which is limited to accepting “the highest possible degree of quality”. No. God is absolute perfection.

God is righteous. And in their judgements there are no compromises, negotiations or extenuating circumstances.

And God is not only holy, He is thrice holy.

It is a level we will never be able to reach. Only by letting the Gospel become real in our lives, through the work of the Holy Spirit, can we have a glimpse of what it means.

And this new level, for which God enables us through His Word and His Holy Spirit, is something that must be seen in our daily behavior.

But we are not talking about a “perfect” life, but a life of humility, mercy, righteousness and service.

As we read in Micah 6:8: “O man, he hath declared unto thee what is good, and what the LORD requireth of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble thyself before thy God.”

A life that lets Christ be seen in what we do and say, or in what we keep silent and avoid.

Thus, the apostle Paul gives the Philippians three guidelines for them to evaluate themselves.

The first is unity.standing firm in the same spirit, fighting with one accord…”. And by this we are not speaking of uniformity, that is to say, of all being alike, but of each one, according to the grace and gifts received from God, helping each other in the work of God.

They may disagree on certain minor points, but they are subject to one another in love and consider one another as superior to themselves.

Because it is only through unity and respect that we will be able to stand firm.. Nothing ensures defeat more than having a disunited team.

Imagine a soccer team where the goalkeeper stops paying attention because the defenders, in his opinion, are not doing what they should. That the midfielders thought of the strikers: “if they like scoring goals so much, let them come and get the balls”. Or that the strikers would say of the goalkeeper: “if he doesn’t come up and help us instead of standing there touching his belly, don’t expect another goal!

They will only win a game if the opponent does not show up. In all other cases, defeat is certain.

The second is action. “…fighting unanimously…”.

I have said it before and I repeat it, if the Gospel has entered your life, it has to produce changes, it has to be reflected in your life, in what you do, and in what you stop doing.

And not out of obligation, but because it is really producing a change of nature within you. No eagle misses running, because its place is not at ground level, but in the heights. On the contrary, it is when it is in real trouble that it is grounded and cannot get back on its feet.

And if you are not an eagle, but a turtle, don’t worry about not being able to fly, because you will reach places that no eagle can reach.

Find your place, and get going. In the church, in the neighborhood, in society. Wherever God puts you, get moving.

Continuing with the soccer simile, I don’t know where God has put you, although what is certain is that you are not the coach. Our work is in the field, in giving our all and fulfilling our mission in the best possible way, collaborating with each other. This is the only way God can make us a winning team.

And the third is faith. “…in nothing intimidated by those who oppose…”.

Find your place, and get moving, and do it because God will be with you.

Of course there will come problems and opposition. But have faith, trust, because God is with you.

Don’t worry about the size of your opponents, or the strength or skill they show, and don’t panic if a teammate suddenly runs away in terror, or even gives up and passes the ball to the opponent to avoid being jumped on.

Do not be afraid of having to face these adversaries, as long as you are on God’s team, because in Him we will have the victory.

You will have to work hard, and it may take longer than you would like, but if you trust in God, victory will come.

On the other hand, if you give in to fear and withdraw, or worse, change teams, you may find it very comfortable at first. You may avoid efforts, you may avoid struggles. But the certain end will be defeat and death.

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

Philippians 1: 1-11; 27-28

Finally, it is curious to note that in the expressions Paul uses in this passage: “becometh, stand fast, striving together…”, he has used verbs or adverbs of action.

At no time did he say: “that you say that you are Christians”.

Probably, because if it is necessary to say that we are Christians, perhaps it is because we do not yet behave as such.

God bless you.

Can you help me to share it? Thank you very much.

Cover image by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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