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; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. Philippians 1:27-30
We don’t often think of the gospel as the “rules,” but if followed, it will create Christlike behavior, marked by unity and courage in the church. Paul needed the Philippians to “stand firm” in it, whether or not he returned. The gospel he left behind would graciously regulate them if allowed.
Philippi was a Roman colony, and following Roman law was a citizen’s duty. We, being citizens of heaven, should follow its rules, which were set forth in the life and teachings of Christ, the gospel, if you will, the crux of our faith. In doing so, we will draw fire from the world, as Christ did, and as Paul did, resulting in “suffering.”
We march to a different drum beat. We are out of step with the world. But we’re “not alarmed.”