“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” – Philippians 1:27 (NASB)
As believers professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are called to live our lives in such a way that other’s notice a difference from those who don’t believe. Paul the Apostle frames this as ‘conduct that is worthy of the gospel.’ The Greek for ‘gospel’ means the Good News. We live and walk in Christ because of the good news of the Lord Jesus. The Old Testament spoke of the suffering and resurrection of Christ so this was not a new message. We know of the resurrection, believe in it, and have been saved by it. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Standing firm in one spirit with one mind introduces Paul’s theme of unity that core to his words of encouragement. Paul’s call for sincere unity of heart and mind is based on:
- the necessity of oneness to win the spiritual battle for the faith (Phil. 1:28–30);
- our love of others in the fellowship (Phil. 2:1-2);
- genuine humility and self-sacrifice (Phil. 2:3-4); and
- Jesus Christ our example who proved that sacrifice produces eternal glory (Phil. 2:5–11).
First as one soldier standing at his post, then as a team resisting a common foe.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
“Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” – Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)
This promise for today is for every day. It is well worth keeping it in the top of our mind. We all face times when the peace we have is challenged by events and circumstances. What we expect fails to be what we get and our peace is gone like a puff of smoke in a sudden breeze. We resort to worry, doubts and are tempted to go down a different path. What we need instead is to grip onto and hold firmly in our mind the truth in this promise from God. Isaiah penned these words inspired by the Spirit of God. He wrote, a fixed outlook of trust in the Lord causes a peace within that the wicked can never know (Isaiah 57:21). Such trust prevents double mindedness (James 1:6–8) and serving two masters (Matthew 6:24). Perfect peace means complete, genuine peace that comes only by grace from God. As we experience this inner peacefulness our faith grows and we are encouraged to continue trusting our Lord and Savior Jesus. Let’s prepare ourselves now for today’s opportunity to exercise trust in God who is our Rock forever. Perfect peace can be ours.
“Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.” – Psalm 26:2-3 (NASB)
The love God promises to all who love Him is always before us. It is always for our benefit and never fails. We are the ones that fail in this love. David, who wrote this song seeks vindication that he has not failed. He calls on God to examine, try, and test his inner self – deeper emotion than what he might show to others. It is interesting that the phrase “test my mind and my heart” is translated from the Hebrew original “test my kidneys and my heart.” The use of kidneys is a figurative way to speak of the seat of emotion and affection; hence, it is involving character. It was seen as the most sensitive vital part of a person, thus, the “mind” as we today see the mind as the most vital part of a person along with the heart. These three invitations to divine scrutiny are essentially synonymous ways of testing, refining, and purifying. If we include the first verse, we can understand that David wanted confirmation of his faithfulness and trust in God. Can we claim that our integrity guides our way and our trust is steadfast? Let’s commit to that today.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Are these familiar words to you? They may be just the promise we need to hear these days. Because we all face uncertainty and trying times, because we all can find ways to be upset inside because of outside turmoil. When things are not as they should be, at least in our own understanding, peace escapes us. We believe that we all need to be reminded often of these promises. But first, let us understand what this promise of peace is promising perfect peace. Perfect peace may not be just the absence of turmoil. Perfect peace can be ours in the midst of upsetting challenges. Perfect peace is complete, genuine, inner tranquility which we find when we trust the word of God. There are so many influences and distractions in this world to interrupt our thinking and to disturb our peace. Remember, who is it that benefits from God’s peace? It is the person who trusts in God because those who trust in God focus their thinking on God’s faithfulness and this gives their minds a real steadfastness. Steady thinking is really a part of real peace. Let’s keep our minds steady today, trusting the Lord.
“ The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:29-30 (ESV)
Many claim the existence of gods other than the one God we worship. These other gods are created in someone’s mind and sold to many who do not know the true God. A created god is not the God of the Bible. Our God is not the same as the god worshiped in a false religion. The commandments in these verses came to us first from God through Moses in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It is a foundational truth that we need to believe and hold dear and defend that God is One. There are no other gods in existence. Famous and influential people today, celebrities will tell you that there is more than one god and there is more than one way to “what you call God.” But there is not. The Lord is one. It does not take our belief to make that true. It is true because God said it and those who choose to believe it is no mistake. God has made Himself available, findable, knowable to those who seek him in faith believing. God promises that those who seek Him will find Him and those who ask for Him will receive Him.