One of my roles at Moody Bible Institute is to advise the student Literary Practicum Team. This group of ten students work together to produce two major publications. At the beginning of every year, I tell them that I am just as interested in their teamwork as I am in their creations. And, while there are always bumps along the way, it is always rewarding when they present the two books knowing they did together what not one of them could have done independently.
In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul stressed the importance of unity in the body of Christ. While our reading centers on Philippians 4:1–9, I encourage you to read through the entire book if you have time. Paul raises the theme in 1:27–30. Believers should “[strive] together as one for the faith of the gospel.” Through harmony, they could face opposition without fear (1:28). What’s true in physics is true in the church: cohesion builds strength. Paul continued in chapter 2, reminding them that Christ alone was the source of unity (2:1). Paul instructed them to put aside their selfish motives and to value one another above themselves (2:3).
With all this talk about unity, it might be surprising that Paul concludes the letter by mentioning two women who were in conflict: Euodia and Syntyche. He pleads with them to “be of the same mind in the Lord” (4:2). Paul was gentle but clear. He acknowledged their work for the gospel cause. And he asked a third party to step in as mediator.
Why should believers strive to live in unity? So the gospel can go forward and that “the peace of God that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7)
>> Are you in conflict with another believer? Do everything you can (even calling in a mediator) to resolve this disagreement, for the good of the gospel and to experience the peace that only God can give!
Conflict can feel hopeless. How can two opposed parties be reconciled? If both are devoted and submissive to You, harmony can be restored. Do this work in us and those with whom we are in conflict. Restore our unity for Your glory.