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Families/Individuals with no young children, please follow this devotional by Theo Cox:
Philippians 1:27-30 New International Version (NIV)
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[a]striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Paul talks about three things in this passage. He tells us that we are to be Christ like, that we will endure persecution, and that we should persevere knowing that it is for him. This all sounds easy enough because we live in the United States of America and Christians don’t get persecuted here!! If we lived in another country this may be different because then we may be beaten or put to death. So, lets pray for them to persevere through their time of suffering. The funny thing is, people in other countries pray the same prayer for us because they know we are not exempt from the suffering. Persecution comes in all shapes and forms. The closer we get to God and the more Christ like we become, the more persecution we endure. We are at war with Satan and we will endure many battles, but we continue to fight because we know that we are fighting for the Lord.
Many veterans love to show off their battle scars because they know that they fought for something they believed in. Although we all may not have physical battle scars, we can still show off our inner battle scars and be proud through our testimony. When I first read this passage I instantly thought of a tree because the life span of a tree depends on the roots. There is a tree in Sweden called Old Tjikko that has an estimated age of 9,550 years old, being the oldest stand-alone tree. Imagine all of the storms it had to have endured over its time. The closer we walk with Christ, the more rooted we become in the spirit, the more we can endure.
Something that stuck out to me in this verse was “striving together as one for the faith of the gospel”. I not only feel that this is telling us to be one with the Lord, but being one as the Church body as well. Although the Old Tjikko is the oldest stand-alone tree, there are two others, but they are not stand alone. They are both colonies that share and underground root system. The Pando tree located in Utah is believed to be an 80000 year old tree. This speaks to the importance of unity of the church body and with Christ. Our roots are unified through Christ to help endure whatever may come our way.
Optional: Song pairing (My Life is in your hands by Kirk Franklin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIPMllUV12o
What persecutions are you facing currently?
Help me to remain strong during persecution, and let me keep my faith until the end. Please anoint me with your spirit to continue sharing your gospel throughout the word. For in the name of Jesus I pray. Amen