Metaphors are effective to compare something obscure with something more easily understood. In Philippians 1:27-30 Paul expresses his hope that whether he is released from prison to visit the Philippian believers or remains jailed he wants to hear that they are “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
The word he uses for striving is the word from which we get our word agony. In Paul’s day it was ordinarily applied to athletes in their efforts to win. Paul urges the believers in Philippi to strive for the faith of the gospel. It dawns on me that most believers I know could not be described as “striving” in the sense of an athlete for their faith or for the gospel.
What word or term do would you use to describe your life as a believer? What term(s) do you imagine others might use to describe what they see in you daily. Are you passive or passionate as a believer. Are you fixed in your faith or frightened for others to know your beliefs? Are you aggressive, angry, hungry, helpless or simply happy?
Every generation of believers must defend, confirm, stand for, and live out its faith. We can be salt and light with amazing influence and effect or we can be silent, afraid, passive, and ineffective. Jesus means something to every believer. Every believer responds in some manner, witnesses with some effect, and lives in some way under His authority. But to what effect?
I do not want to be a believer that has no passion, little influence, and no power in my life. But I honestly do not always feel that I am in the “agony” of a great calling, a great faith and a great life. I want to be more of Paul wanted to see in the Philippians. How about you?