While reading Philippians recently, I was struck anew by Paul’s instruction that the church in Philippi “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
That word “worthy” – ἀξίως – shows up consistently in Paul’s letters:
“welcome [Phoebe] in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints”
“let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ”
“walk in a manner worthy of the Lord”
1 Thessalonians 2:12
“we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God”
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”
To walk worthily of God is not an attempt to earn a status or to become worthy of him. It’s a response to all he’s given us in Christ.
It’s similar to people expecting their elected officials to act in a way commensurate with their status, or parents demanding higher standards from their children as the kids grow up. When someone receives a higher status, it usually comes with higher standards.
It’s a privilege to be a member of Christ’s body, and that status – received by grace through faith in Christ – brings standards of life that we aim to meet through our all-of-life worship (Romans 12:1-2). The privilege of calling God our Father calls forth a response, a way of walking that honors the one who bought us (cf. 3 John 6).
It’s an honor to bear Christ’s name, and Paul expects Christians to walk worthy of it, bearing the Spirit’s fruit and bringing glory to our Father.