Philippians 1:26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Where some translations have “your joy in Christ,” the Japanese has the more literal, “your pride in me.” There are of course other differences in sentence structure, but the thing that struck me from this verse in general is that people affect our interaction with Christ. We might wish it weren’t so, but that’s the way it is. In the first place, virtually everyone believes in Jesus because of someone else. I don’t know that anyone has ever just found a Bible, read it, and been saved without some input from another human being. (It would be theoretically possible, but at the very least, that Bible had to come from somewhere.) In the Biblical example of Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10) and in modern examples in Muslim countries that I’ve heard, even when an angel appears to someone, or they have a dream of Jesus, they are directed to a human being. It’s no mere turn of phrase that we are part of the Body of Christ. That’s why we should be active and intentional as His agents, knowing that we are speaking His words and touching people with His hands. The thing is, we can have a negative impact as well. When people know we are Christians, and yet we act in ways that dishonor Him, we are making it less likely that those who are watching us will come to personal faith themselves. None of us is perfect, and we’ve all slipped up countless times, but as Paul says many times in his letters, we need to live so that people will praise God because of us.
Ouch! Talk about being convicted by your own words! I have always liked verse 21 in this chapter; “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” but that tends to lead to a focus on future rewards. I need to focus on the first part of that, “to live is Christ,” so that my life may show Him to others and lead them to repentance and faith for their salvation. I don’t fail completely at that, but my focus could be sharper. Lots of people like me, but I want to live so that they will love Jesus, and not just me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. This is a daily issue. As Jesus said, I need to take up my cross daily and follow Him. (Luke 9:23) May I indeed be Your agent to all I encounter, blessing them and pleasing You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!