Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 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, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:27-30
If you are a certain age you probable remember 8mm home movies. Remember, you probable were unwilling stars in the medium. One of your parents, most likely your dad would shoot short snippets of some family event, a birthday, Christmas or maybe a family reunion. Back before VCRs and camcorders this was how you recorded family events. Once the roll of film was full they would send it off to be developed and then put the developed file in a projector to watch. The end result would be over exposed, under exposed or in some rare instances correctly exposed. No matter the exposure or how well the person taking the movies knows how to operate the camera the one common denominator was there was no sound. Back then home movies were silent movies.
What has this to do with today’s verse? Just this, what if someone watched 8mm movies of your life? Would they know you were a Christian? If you could not tell them what would your actions tell the world? How would your life be any different that a non-believer? In today’s world people no longer trust what someone says to them. They want to see action. The old joke, “how do you tell when a politician is lying? Watch his lips. If they move he is lying.” Now is applied to everyone.
Paul tell us to let our manner of life be worthy of the Gospel. Even 2,000 years ago Paul knew that we need to live our lives differently the others. How we live tells a much richer account of the gospel that our words ever could. When people see how Christ has changed our lives and how that change has brought us joy and peace then they will want what we have. They will want to see what the Jesus is all about. But when they see us living one way but saying something different then is when we get labeled hypocrites.
It is through changed lives that God is glorified. A quote often attributed to Francis of Assisi is “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” Since this quote has not been found in his writings I will use one that he did write, “Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.” Either way the point is we or actions speak louder than our words.
Have a blessed day,