“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you, it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.”
Paul is here calling to the church for unity, “that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind…” It is the place and the purpose of the church, in every age, to “suffer,” in unity, for the sake of Christ and for His gospel. What do you see when you gather for worship on Sunday morning? Do you see the Body of Christ assembled in unity with the mind of Christ, or do you see something else? Paul points out the conflict for which we all must strive together, noting that our adversaries come against us relentlessly from without and from within. Humble yourselves and pray together for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon the church as at Pentecost, and remember, in the face of conflict with this world, God’s words from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.””
Father God, we praise you for using us to bring joy to your Son, Jesus Christ. In the midst of all the struggles, pressures, and discouragement we face while in our frail, failing bodies, please continue transforming us into servants who are always of good courage. Lead us by your Holy Spirit to find rest in the grand promises that you’ve revealed to us in your Word. We confess that we are weak and that we need your strength. Prepare us for the day when you will judge an account of all our works. Though we do not deserve your grace, we cannot even begin to express our gratitude for nailing our guilt and shame upon the cross through your crucified Son. Lord, we earnestly long to experience the moment when you will declare to us, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.” Help us this week as we continue our walk of faith looking forward to the day when our faith will become sight. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray, Amen.