“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and one mind.”
As Paul writes to the believers in Philippi, it seems as if he’s giving them a checklist of items, that once fully checked off, they can move on to “completing his joy.” But Paul is actually the one checking off the list. He is using a rhetorical conditional statement to refer to items they already knew to be true. Paul was reminding them of all that Christian community held for the believer. He was emphasizing how important Christian fellowship was to their health, growth and effectiveness. They needed to guard and protect this fellowship by being of one mind.
Maintaining unity among a diverse group of people can be difficult. But unity doesn’t mean uniformity. We all have our opinions, preferences and agendas – it’s only human. However, these things take a back seat to the mission of the gospel. In times where we need to humbly submit our own desires for the church to be in full accord, Paul is saying the prize is worth the price.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- What are the benefits that Paul lists of being in Christian fellowship? (hint: the first one is “encouragement in Christ”) List them in your journal or in the comment section below.
- As you look at that list, can you think of instances where you experienced these firsthand among a fellowship of believers?
- Which of these benefits do you need most right now?
- How might you create these elements among the fellowship today?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Today’s post is by Jon Price, Associate Pastor