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)

The verse is speaking about living with purpose. Sadly, there are few who consider a higher purpose for their life than to make a living, hurting no one, and get by comfortably in life. This is not evil; it is merely mundane, shortsighted, and bound to disappoint, for one day they will realize there is more to life than this life.

There are others who pick a cause and live purposely. Often their purpose is some grand “feel-good” cause that can run the gamut from a rather general concept (such as leaving the world a better place) to some very specific, self-sacrificial regimen of life in order to save “the earth” or save “the animals.” There are some really wonderful, moral causes, like seeking to irradiate abortion, or to raise good kids in order to get good grandchildren.

For the authentic Christian, all other priorities find their real significance derived from one defining obligation. As a redeemed, blood-bought saint owned by God, there is a prior claim on your life and, consequently, the causes of your life. Paul states plainly that you must conduct your life in a manner worthy of the most excellent Gospel by which you were saved.

First, let us consider a little background of the church that first received Paul’s letter. The church was in Philippi. The populace of the city was extremely proud of the fact that they were declared a Roman military colony and had been honored by the conferring of Roman citizenship upon them. Paul will allude several times to this source of pride for these believers in order to teach them heavenly lessons (3:20).

The first heavenly lesson is found in 1:27 because Paul carefully chooses his word for conduct. It is the Greek word politeuo, from which we get the words politic and political. It means “the public duties devolving upon a man as a member of a body; it is accepting a duty to a body or group to whom one is responsible.” Additionally, this word is in the middle voice, meaning that the believer must act upon himself in recognizing and fulfilling his duties as a heavenly citizen. He must hold himself to them as an absolute duty and a necessity, as Wiersbe states. Imagine that! The Philippian believer, who has great pride in being a Roman citizen with all the attendant duties and privileges that come along with the same, must now recognize that God has a higher calling to which he must hold himself and fulfill the duties that come along with his heavenly citizenship.

The “conduct” must be worthy of the Gospel. The Greek word for worthy literally means to “weigh as much as” another thing, to have like value, worth as much, to be congruous and corresponding. That weighty and lofty priority upon the life of the believer is the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. The application is that your life must gain a hearing for your words. Your life must fit the soaring words of the Gospel, must back them up and lend weight to them. Words are cheap for most men, but integrity of life—ah, that is something!

What sort of life matches, and is a good fit for, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? It is nothing if it is not unassailable truth. The Gospel is truth unmixed with error (purest gold; clearest, refreshing water), therefore the life that is proclaiming it must be conducted accordingly. The Gospel is simple since it is designed to reach the very least among men as well as the most lofty, therefore the believer must labor toward simplicity of life. The Gospel is holy since it does not excuse evil but rather deals in justice, so must the believer live. The Gospel is authentic and genuine love (John 3:16) and so the believer’s life must likewise be unpretended, unvarnished, and “tough love.” The Gospel is also full of hope, blessing, and forgiveness.

Are you the most faithful witness in life and word that you can possibly be? Trust and obey.