Off and On Christianity

David Walls

READ : Philippians 1:27-30

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. (v. 27)

The woman wrote in her letter: “You know, Pastor, I have been a Christian for twenty years—off and on.” Paul and the writers of the New Testament were not interested in “off and on” Christianity. They were passionate about practicing their faith every day. That is why Paul writes about “your manner of life.” That expression comes from a word from which we derive our term “politics.” It literally means “to live as a citizen and discharge one’s obligations as a citizen.”

The city of Philippi prided itself on being a Roman colony. They boasted about the fact that they housed many Roman military units in their city and were thrilled that Philippi could offer to people the honor of Roman citizenship.

As important and valuable as all that may have been, Paul wants to remind his Christian friends in Philippi that they have a higher allegiance than Rome. Later in this letter, Paul says that our “citizenship is in heaven” (3:20). He is reminding Christians of all nationalities and citizenships that we have a calling, a responsibility as citizens of heaven, to live in such a way that our lives reflect well the gospel of Christ.

When people hang around us, they should be able to catch a whiff of the good news. They shouldn’t need to see our passport to determine our real citizenship.

PRAYER

Lord, may I live my life as your citizen here on earth.