Happy Memorial Day, friends. Like you may be doing, today I’m thinking about our military and those who have given their lives so we can be free. I have family members and friends who have served, and I’m grateful for them. I think about their bravery, selflessness, and desire to make the world safer. That made me think about how we should be remembered as Christians – as obedient, gentle, and unified.
For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. – Romans 16:19
Paul praises these Christians because their reputation of being obedient has spread. Shouldn’t people who know us know that we follow God? It doesn’t mean we have to shout it to their faces every day. They should be able to see it in us all the time by what we do, and sometimes even more because of what we avoid doing.
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. – Philippians 4:5
When I think of gentleness, I think of the way a mother calms a toddler with her voice quiet and hands soft. There’s more to this word, though. It does mean mild and forbearing, but it also means fair, reasonable, and moderate. Strong’s concordance says it means “gentle” in the sense of truly fair by relaxing overly strict standards in order to keep the “spirit of the law.”
This reminds me of Matthew 23:23 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Jesus teaches that yes, the letter of the law is important, but we should never do anything without compassion and love. This isn’t permission to break rules; it’s encouragement to follow the rules a certain way.
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, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. – Philippians 1:27-28
Wow, we are supposed to try to be “worthy of the gospel of Christ” in how we act. That’s a hard thought for me to wrap my head around. We need to keep ourselves clean from sin. We also need to stand together. I’m a big University of Kentucky basketball fan. As a matter of fact, I’m wearing a UK t-shirt while I write this. Promise that wasn’t planned. Anyway, I’ve watched teams with ridiculously talented players who just couldn’t hold a game together. Why? They weren’t playing like a team. It makes such a difference, and it’s the same with a church family.
This Memorial Day, let’s think about how we want to be remembered. It doesn’t need to be for some monumental act of intelligence or bravery. God wants us to live obediently, gently, and unified. If we do that, people can’t help but notice.
What about you? How do you want to be remembered?
May the Lord bless and keep you,