There is plenty to consider in Philippians chapter 1. The apostle Paul is penning a letter from prison. He has every reason and opportunity to be discouraged by present circumstances. Yet this first chapter reads as a proclamation of the advance of the gospel despite Paul’s personal circumstances. He rejoices not in his present situation, but in the fact that the Kingdom is advancing. People are hearing the gospel! Even while reflecting on his own potential death He muses that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Then he charges the readers with these word… “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27 a). Some versions may say, “conversation” instead of, “manner of life.” The idea is that of being a “citizen” worthily of the gospel.
In other words Paul is calling on believers to live up to their present reality and not just to their visibility. If we profess that we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light… we should live like those who are citizens of the kingdom of light. A transition has taken place. We were once enemies of God and lived for ourselves, but then the gospel changed everything. We are not ambassadors of the gospel to those who live as we once lived.
The temptation is to tuck tail and run at the first sign of difficulty or persecution, but running from persecution isn’t a right representation of the Love of God for sinners. Jesus suffered on the cross and even gave His life to bring us to God. Being a citizen of the gospel or having conversation worthy or living in a manner worthy of the gospel is to represent the good news even through present sufferings. The power to live through voluntary suffering comes not from within our own heart, but on the author and perfecter of our faith… Jesus. That is why Paul could say, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).