But whatever happens to me, you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing side by side, fighting together for the Good News. - Philippians 1:27
It is possible to make a good living without putting together a great life, to work hard at providing all the ingredients of a comfortable existence without bringing them all together in a life of purpose and significance. It is possible to spend a major part of your life asking, “What is the point of all this?” and waiting to retire with the hope, ”Now I can get a life.” A real life starts long before that!
A good life, like a classical symphony, has a major theme. This theme will work its way throughout the piece of music in a variety of forms. Sometimes it fades into the background, only to reappear later with renewed force and fresh expression.
Paul’s basic theme for the Philippians was, “You must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven” (Phil. 1:27). At that time, many of the people living in Philippi were Romans. Rome was their home; Philippi was a distant colony in which they were required to work and live. These people would have had no difficulty recognizing Paul’s analogy. Since they had embraced the Good News, they had become “citizens of heaven,” with temporary residence in the colony of earth. Their hearts belonged to heaven although their homes were on earth. Their longings and aspirations, their goals and their affections were rooted in eternity, although of necessity they were residing in time.
This core allegiance showed in the Philippians’ willingness to take a stand for what they believed. Paul expected to find them “standing side by side, fighting together for the Good News” (1:27). He wanted them to be willing to put their lives on the line and to recognize that in Christ they had found a cause worth living for and, accordingly, one worth dying for. They understood the “privilege of suffering” for Christ (1:29). They were not alone—they lived constantly in the presence of the risen Christ. They experienced great “encouragement from belonging to Christ,” much “comfort from his love,” and “fellowship together in the Spirit” (2:1). They were learning not to be “selfish” or concerned about making an “impression,” and what it means to be genuinely “humble” and “interested in others, too, and what they are doing” (2:3-4).
All this was because the Philippians had grasped the wonder of Christ’s self-humbling to the point of the Cross, which provided for them the wonderful model of how to get a life. You give your life to God, as Jesus did, and then he gives it back filled with himself. That’s the difference between making a living and getting a life.
For Further Study: Philippians 1:27-2:4