Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel… – Philippians 1:27
It wasn’t an accident that Paul spent some time talking about the imperial guardsmen that had to takes turns chaining themselves to Paul. (Philippians 1:12-14)
Paul knew things were going to get tough for Christians, (Philippians 1:29-30) so he began preparing the readers of his epistle for a change of mind. It was encouraging to think that even those guardsmen could be saved. It was very encouraging to think that Christian brothers and sisters were emboldened to teach the gospel based on Paul’s success in prison. That change of mind was going to be needed to get through those times.
It was Isaiah that said:
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3
No matter how tough life gets, focusing on Christ is the solution. How firm we stand with Christ is a measure of our worthiness for his gospel. (Philippians 1:27) Jesus never made any bones about this. In fact he said we were to count the cost before making the decision to follow him. (Luke 14:28)
Christ doesn’t accept second place! (Luke 9:62, 14:26)
Paul demonstrated this when he wrote one of the key verses in Philippians:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain – Philippians 1:21
He showed us how the single mind focused on Christ thinks. If he lived, he would be able to save more souls. If he died, he would finally be with Christ. A Christian, focused on the right things, not letting his mind wander, and serving doesn’t have to fear death.
And he doesn’t have to worry about worldly things:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Consider the state of the non-believer. He has no hope in death. Life is a chain of events chasing worldly things. His attempts to focus on elusive things leaves him wanting.
Single mindedness. When Christ is first, the rest takes care of itself.
… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33