For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Philippians 1:20
Some years ago I was sitting in a meeting in which there was a disagreement in the room. I remember beginning to get agitated and I eventually walked out.
Right at that moment I lost my boldness to act on behalf of that group, because I had lost my ‘cool’ in front of them. A rash act, a loss of self-control, a silly decision, can leave us without courage.
We feel guilty, ashamed, we have to work at repairing the situation (which is what I did immediately in the days following that event).
Once there is repair, there is courage again.
Paul has just been talking about those who are preaching the gospel with all sorts of impure motives.
On one hand he is saying “I don’t care, as long as Jesus is being preached”, on the other hand he is saying I am working on not doing that which could lead me to shame, as these others are, as it is my desire not simply to preach the gospel, but to do it boldly and be completely unashamed for Christ.
He makes his case even clearer – “I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die”
Paul is facing the possibility of a death sentence as he sits in prison. Yet he is able to say “the most important thing to me is not my conditions, my comfort, my pain, my opportunities even, but rather how I respond to it to reflect Christ, drawing honour to Him, not pity to me.” (in my words of course)
As I write this I realise what a huge challenge this is to everyone of us. A critical challenge we need to take on.
How much do we take seriously our lives as being mirrors of Christ?
Do we live, speak and act in such a way that could make us ashamed before Him?
How do we respond in a crisis, or a difficult moment?
Are we more concerned about justifying ourselves, understanding the ‘why’, do we seek to blame someone for it? Or are we more concerned about God being honoured through our life.
It may require swallowing our pride, it may require behaving contrary to our natural instincts, but if we choose to live in a way that causes Him to shine through then we will know our life is lived in its true intended purpose.
My prayer for us is that we also would not live ashamed, that we live bold and with careful thought to how we live so Christ is glorified in and through us.
Together, let’s know we need not be ashamed, but be bold to represent the name of Jesus.