What I Can Do

Clinton D. Hamilton
Tampa, Florida

Some Christians feel not elders, preachers that since they are or some other public proclaimers of the word, there is nothing left for them to do. In desperation, some such statement as this is uttered: "What can I do?" The work of being a Christian is an individual matter and one must constantly be seeking to please God. The book of Philippians provides some instruction as to what we can do.

Let love abound more and more in knowledge and discernment. Love is active good will and abounds as we study and apply God's will to our lives. What does it mean to let love abound in knowledge and discernment? Knowledge here refers to the ability to acquire information which enables one to have intelligent affection. Discernment is the faculty to ascertain the values and use of things. Thus the instruction of the Philippians was that they learn to let love, abound by knowledge and discernment. Why? "So that ye may approve the things -that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offense unto the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (Phil. 1:10-11). One needs to be able to make a distinction between things that differ; evaluations must be made in the moral and spiritual realm. Each Christian has to do this daily.

Sincere means pure or unalloyed, that which is not deceitful or hypocritical. Each Christian can strive to be free of all such insincerity. This is not beyond the reach of any. If our love does abound in knowledge and discernment, we can be void of offence, which means to have a conscience free of blame. Righteousness in an individual produces fruit in the way of good conduct. Every Christian can be busy filling his life with the fruits of righteousness.

Walk worthy of the gospel. "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Phil. 1:27). This involves our behaving as citizens. Since our citizenship is in heaven, we should not mind earthly things, make our god our belly or glory in shame (Phil. 3:19-20). The time of our sojourneying here should be passed in conduct consistent with our heavenly calling.

The scriptures thoroughly furnish one to every good work and consequently we have no excuse for not behaving as we should except our own ignorance or failure to try (2 Tim. 3 :16-17 ) . Conduct consistent with the gospel's instruction is within the realm of the possible with all Christians. The degree to which they desire and strive to be what God wills determines the success of their lives in God's sight.

Strive for the faith of the gospel. Paul desired that the Philippians stand fast "in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel" ( Phil. 1:27) . The idea here is that the brethren keep united as they strive together. Striving involves the idea of contending. Whatever one believes should be jealously defended and proclaimed. Weakness evidenced by being swayed by pressures exerted on one should be no part nor lot of a Christian. The gospel should bring forth the best in one and be defended with zeal and power. But all the while, there should be the effort to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).

Holding forth the word o f life. Without complaining and doubting, we should attend to our duties for the purpose of being blameless, and without rebuke. "In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" Christians are "seen as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:15) . Among such, Christians should hold "forth the word of life" (Phil. 2:16). Each Christian can be a luminary or light in the world. Jesus taught that we should so conduct ourselves that the world might see our good works and glorify the Father (Matt. 5:16). This was prefaced by saying that we are the light of the world. The gospel is the message which produces light. Each Christian should bear this message in his life, holding it forth for all the world to see.

Pray at all occasions. Paul exhorts the Philippians to be anxious in nothing, but with prayer and supplication to let their requests be known unto God (Phil. 4:6). We should be concerned about what we do and how we shall live. What is here condemned as being anxious is a care that distracts. We must provide for our own, lest we be as an infidel (I Tim. 5:8), but we should not be overly concerned, for God has promised to give us all things we need (Matt. 6:25ff), provided we seek His rule first. Whatever needs we have, we should petition God with thanksgiving (I Pet. 5:6-7). Cannot each Christian do this?

Give to support evangelism. On more than one occasion, the Philippians sent to Paul as he went about proclaiming the gospel to others (Phil. 4:15-17) . We may not always be able to go ourselves, but we can assist those who do. This is what Gaius was instructed by John to do (3 John 5-7) . The fruit of such giving abounds to our account in the sight of God. Such giving is, a sacrifice that is well pleasing to God (Phil. 4:18). Cannot each Christian devote himself to such?

Yes, there is much that I can do. Am I doing it? This is the question.

Truth Magazine, V:11, pp. 6-7
August 1961