Philippians 2:1-2, NASB
1) Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
2) make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
-The way in which the Philippians respond to Paul's letter has the ability to "make his joy complete." By conducting themselves in a manner worthy" (verse 1:27) and "in no way being alarmed by your opponents" (verse 1:28)in being willing to "suffer for Christ's sake" (verse 1:29) they will succeed in being that encouragement, a consolation of love, share in the fellowship of the Spirit, and show affection and compassion.
-unity is vital to the life of the church and the furtherance of the Gospel
When we headed down that path in the woods last summer we had a goal in mind. Each one of us knew that at the other end we would be at the ocean. This path led down over 200 steps and places where you had to duck under brush and hold onto a cable down a steep embankment. We marveled that this was the path used by the Coast Guard for many years to reach boats docked in a protected harbor that would go out on rescue missions. Many lives were saved because men were willing to make the journey to the end of that trail. I chickened out when it came to the part with the cable to hold onto, but my men carried on. As you can see by the photo this was an area of very dense underbrush. Imagine our great surprise when a mountain lion sprang across the trail just feet from my location after the guys rejoined me on the top of the cliff.
When the going got tough I quit, much like I imagine many do when suffering comes. We give up on the goal and plop ourselves down in a comfy spot completely unaware of any lurking danger. Paul is reminding of us of our goal, our purpose and it is a united purpose. We are all in this together, our successes and/or failures have an impact on everyone else.
Imagine for a moment that the verses today were spoken to you by your pastor. What happens after you walk out of the doors on Sunday? What kind of report will he get back about your behavior? Will it be an encouragement to him? Will it make his joy complete? These are not questions I often ask myself. I've never given any thought to making my pastor's joy complete, but can you just for a moment imagine with me what a congregation would look like if we did? If we served with the same mind, maintained the same love, were united in spirit, and intent on one purpose. If we all proclaimed Christ without fear? Now there is a church I would love to be a part of! It starts with me and it starts with you, dear one. The only thing that will unite us like that is our one purpose. We lose that unity when we lose our focus on this one purpose. A church that is focused on what color to paint walls or making sure they are popular with the masses is a church destined to division. We will never agree on all the particulars for we are a varied bunch of individuals. But Paul is calling us to lay aside these differences and work towards our united purpose- the furtherance of the Gospel. You may go about it differently than I do, but as long as Christ is proclaimed we should rejoice like Paul did in his day. (verse 1:18)
Grace and Peace,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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