That's So Attractive
Spirit of the Living God, set me free from fear and doubt and grant me a new joy in serving You and others.
Consider: “Go out into this world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God” (Phil. 2:15, The Message).
In our society, the secular media will immediately latch on to any missteps of the Church or Christian leaders. When these failures are proven there is some justification to their interest. Unfortunately, often the reporting is inaccurate, maligning all Christians. As this chapter underscores, the behavior of believers should be such that “no one will malign the word of God” (5); “they have nothing bad to say about us” (8); we make “the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (10); and we are “eager to do what is good” (14). Unwarranted accusations will come, but there must be nothing to corroborate them. The consistent testimony of Scripture is that Christians should be judged by the content of their character.
This applies wherever the follower of Jesus is located. Some may feel in more advantageous circumstances than others (respected, older men as opposed to slaves in service), but the challenge remains the same. Paul emphasizes self-control or sound-mindedness in his words to older men, young men and women (2,5,6,12). In a first-century culture that “admired heavy drinkers” (Gordon Fee, see also v. 3) and consequent loss of control, believers are called to distinctiveness. The instruction to different groupings is set in the context of witness and fellowship. How does behavior reflect on the Gospel and how does it affect others? There are relational responsibilities: old women to younger women; younger women to husbands and children; Titus to the younger men; and slaves to their masters. These are examples of our web of relationships, which our behavior will inevitably impact for good or bad. God’s great work is to redeem us for goodness (14).
Which group do you fall into? What quality that Paul lists for your group really grabs hold of you? Why? What response do you need to make?
Mighty God, I feel somewhat depressed when I see how far short I fall of what is required of me. Infuse me with the desire to be more like Jesus.
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