Who do people see when they observe your behavior? What guides your life? What directs your conversation? What is your conversation? Is it giving a distorted view of what it means to be a child of God?
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 1:27 KJV
I grew up on the KJV, and I generally think of that version when remembering scriptures. This verse with its old timey use of the word conversation can give a slightly limiting connotation in relation to conversation. It’s not just what comes out of our mouths, but what comes out in our actions, our lifestyle.
Most of us think of talking to others when we hear the word conversation. The back and forth sharing of thoughts and ideas with another person. The word conversation in the scripture above is the Greek word (Strong’s G4176) politeuomai (pronounced po-le-TYU-o-mi). Strong’s Concordance lists the usage as to behave as a citizen, to avail one’s self of or recognize the laws, to conduct one’s self as pledged to some law of life.
According to Meriam-Webster the present-day meaning of conversation is oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas. This meaning of conversation certainly works in the verse above, but the obsolete meaning listed in Meriam-Webster, is more likely what was meant by the translators. The obsolete meaning, what people understood conversation to mean when the KJV was originally written, is conduct and behavior.
The NASB states the meaning of this verse more clearly:
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;
Philippians 1:27 NASB
While we are at it, let’s look at the word becometh or becoming. The Greek word (Strong’s G516) is axios (ax-EE-oce) which means suitably, in a manner worthy of, appropriately. Our contemporary definition is suitable; appropriate; proper.
If we call ourselves Christian or Torah-observant, we must conduct ourselves accordingly – our way of life (conversation, behavior) must be becoming (reflect well on, be a proper reflection of) of the gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) Messiah. How do we do that?
Reflect Your True Citizenship
Live like you are from Heaven. The writer of Philippians reminds us that Heaven is where our true citizenship is:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Philippians 3:20 NKJV
I like the way the New Living Translation and the Christian Standard Version states the first part of our key verse Philippians 1:27:
NLT – Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.
CSV – Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ.
These translations of the verse in Philippians remind us that we are no longer of this world. Heaven is our home. We are sojourners here. When you visit another country, you should want to conduct yourself in a way that reflects positively on your home country. You don’t want to give your host country the opportunity to say, “Americans are so rude!” or “Those Texans are so arrogant.” This is no different. And so much more important. We want them to say when they observe us, “Christians are always pleasant to be around.” Or even better, “I wish I could be more like him/her in these trying situations.”
Here are a few more scriptures to consider about whom our conduct reflects.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 KJV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
Ephesians 5:1 ESV
Paul instructed the Corinthians on how to model their lives:
Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV
The next verse, an admonition from James, is very sobering…
Therefore, to him that knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
James 4:17 NKJV
We must always remember that we are living for Him. We represent Him on Earth. Since we have been adopted and grafted into the family of God, everything we do should be to reflect Him well to the world.
Who does the world see when they see you? How well are you reflecting Yeshua (Jesus) and the Father? Think about it honestly. If there are areas in your life that aren’t becoming of a member of the family, make adjustments as needed to be a proper reflection of your Heavenly Father and the body of Messiah (Christ).
Pick some or all of the verses in this article to memorize. Meditate on them often to make sure your reflection is true.
Heavenly Father help me to be a proper reflection of You in my daily conduct and conversation. Help me to imitate the Savior, Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) when I know people are watching and when I think no one is looking. Amen
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