October 19th, 2023 – Thursday Afternoon
“I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” ~Philippians 4:2-3
Since the Fall of man in the garden of Eden, our natural human tendency has been to blame each other and divide ourselves against each other. The root of such action is pride and its end result is death and destruction – of lives, marriages, families, churches, businesses, communities, nations, alliances, etc. Deadly division and the pride from which it springs have only one true cure: The humble submission of oneself to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It seems a bit sad that Paul would need to include this instruction towards the end of a very powerful and encouraging letter to the Philippian church; yet, how wonderful it is that it was included! The instruction contained in these two verses is not out of line with what has already been communicated in this missive; rather, it is a direct application of such teaching. (For instance, back in chapter 2, Paul commanded the Philippians to be of the same mind and to have the mind of humility that Jesus exemplified; the attitude needed to here “live in harmony in the Lord” is that of Philippians 2.) This passage gives us a very practical and real example of what following Jesus and pressing toward the goal of the upward calling truly entails.
So what does the instruction mean for us? First off, if you and I are brothers and sisters in Christ, we have the same Father, Master, Redeemer, Comforter, Counselor, and Intercessor. We also will stand before the same Judge; everything that we have done will be revealed – including the ways in which we have elevated ourselves over our brethren (and thereby, outside of the Master’s authority). Secondly, since we have the same Lord and Master, we have the same purpose in Him, through Him, and by Him; living in harmony is simple if we keep our eyes off of ourselves and on Him. Finally, since we share the same Lord and purpose, we also share the same grace and power; we can choose to value each other above ourselves for the sake of Christ through His grace and power, and we are empowered to help other believers who are struggling with unity and harmony to find it in Him.
One more thing to keep in mind: Living in harmony in the Lord means death to the flesh. It isn’t easy or comfortable, but it is godly; it equates to the end of pride and selfishness, but it leads to peace, joy, and the expansion of the kingdom of God.
Are you and I struggling to live in harmony with our brothers and/or sisters in Christ? Let us humble ourselves and refind our true identity in the Lord.