Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27—NKJV

It has always been a fascination for me to see how much press notoriety receives over matters of consequence. The most bizarre trumps the most significant every time. Perhaps the significant does not make good rumor, does not fire the imagination and does not sell because it requires thought and perception. Notoriety is puffed up by tales of moral failure, inconsistency, excess, and news of a fall made public.

The book of Proverbs illustrates the character of public fallings when it happens to a Christian. Proverbs 25:26 says, “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.” Springs and wells are for refreshment and sustaining life but when stirred up, muddied, and polluted are not fit for their purpose and are put out of commission. Soon the signs go up, “Danger—don’t drink the water.” When someone comes to them for good things they find nothing useable at the time of need. Examples of believers who have disqualified themselves on public stages, both large and small, are legion.

Solomon gives great words of advice concerning integrity in the surrounding chapters. 23:17 and 18 reads, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.” Devotedly keep your eye on the Lord and fear Him for He holds the future. In 23:23 Solomon states, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Truth is the solid essence of practical, moral virtue; it is the moral culture of life which provides the central faculty of proving and distinguishing (wisdom, instruction and understanding). God is truth.

No true Christian can say he does not need these warnings. Solomon reminds us that the one who is standing needs to take heed lest he fall. Because good men rely on the flesh and fall is no excuse to give up and leave the field of spiritual battle. Proverbs 24:16 restores the commission of the saint who has fallen, “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.” What a precious reminder that God is merciful, longsuffering, and remains true to His loving kindness and grace even when we are not true to Him! He requires that the saint get back up and gives the strength for him to do so.

Our text in Philippians raises the stakes for the church age saint in that our integrity has a direct impact upon the cause and power of the gospel in our daily world and to the people we care about. Our lives are to be an adornment to the beauty of the glorious gospel news of the redemption found only in Jesus Christ.

Since our world can’t seem to help emphasizing the notorious to the exclusion of the significant it is imperative that the gospel define your life. When the saint fails he moves into the realm of the notorious and the significance of his purpose and his eternal message is lost. By God’s grace, you must order your life so that all you do is a fitting accessory to the central message of the Good news in Christ, that Jesus came to save sinners.

How does the Gospel define your relationships, goals, choices, and reputation? Does the truth of the Gospel you carry remain pure as it flows through your life so that the spiritually thirsty around you may be refreshed? Trust and obey.