Live Worthy of the Gospel

By Mark D. Roberts

June 23, 2024

Life in Christ: Devotions Inspired by Philippians

Scripture — Philippians 1:27 (NRSV)

Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel.


If we have received God’s grace in Christ, we have dual citizenship. We are citizens of the place where we live and of heaven. If we’re citizens of heaven living here on earth, how should we live? Philippians 1:27 urges us to live “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” In every part of life, in word and deed, we should reflect the good news of God’s love and grace in Christ.

This devotion is part of the series Life in Christ: Devotions Inspired by Philippians.


The city of Philippi has a distinctive history. Located in Macedonia at the top of the Aegean Sea, it was a strategic place over which nations fought major battles. One of those battles happened in 42 B.C. during a Roman civil war. After one side prevailed, Rome settled many of its military veterans in Philippi. Other prominent Romans joined them. In time, Philippi became a legal Roman colony, administered by Roman officials. Philippi represented Roman power, extended Roman financial prosperity, and spread Roman culture throughout the region of Macedonia.

Rome made its presence known in Philippi through Philippian citizens who were also citizens of Rome. It was a dual citizenship arrangement.  Now, in the Roman world, you weren’t automatically a citizen of a city just because you lived there. Citizenship was a reward given out to civic leaders, retired soldiers, wealthy influencers, and public benefactors. So, to be a citizen of Philippi was an honor. But, for the city of Philippi, the fact that their citizens were also citizens of Rome . . . now this was something to boast about. Citizens of Rome received special honors and special privileges throughout the Roman Empire. Though they continued to make Philippi their home, their primary identity was defined by their Roman citizenship. They were citizens of Rome . . . in Philippi.

This historical background helps us understand what’s going on in Philippians 1:27, though it can easily be missed in English translations. Philippians 1:27 reads in the NRSV, “Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” The Greek verb translated here as “live your life” is actually rare in the New Testament. It is closely related to the Greek word meaning “citizenship.” The New Living Translation of Philippians 1:27 captures the sense of the verb in this way: “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.”

Like those in Philippi who were honored to be citizens of both the city where they lived and Rome itself, we who have received God’s grace through Christ have dual citizenship. We are citizens of the place where we live and of heaven. This leads us to ask, “How should we act if we’re citizens of heaven?” Paul answers this question in Philippians 1:27. We are to live “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” We are to be people whose daily living is an expression and demonstration of the good news of God’s grace in Christ. In all our situations, in all our challenges, in all our interactions, in all our words and deeds, we are to live as citizens of heaven by putting the gospel into practice. The people who work with us, live with us, or see us in the market should sense that we are living distinctively because we have embraced the good news of God’s love in Christ.

In this light, let me encourage you to consider the following questions.


As you reflect on your life, do you embody and reflect the gospel in your daily life . . . at home and work, in your neighborhoods and friendships, in your volunteering and your generosity?

Can you think of a specific time when you intentionally tried to live your life worthy of the gospel?

What helps you to live as a citizen of heaven as well as a citizen of the place where you live?


Take some time to think about how you might do something in the next day that reflects the good news of God’s grace in Christ.

By the way, the De Pree Center exists to “equip you to live and work in a distinctively Christian way.” If you’d like resources to help you do this, check out our website,


Gracious God, thank you for your grace in Christ. Thank you for saving us. Thank you for honoring us by making us citizens of heaven. Thank you for being our true ruler, the one who deserves our ultimate loyalty.

Teach me, I pray, to live as a citizen of heaven. Help me to live in a manner worthy of the gospel. May my words and deeds be a reflection of the grace you have given to me through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Do Your Work in a Worthy Manner (Philippians 1:27–2:11).

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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