“If there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded…” – Philippians 2:1-2a
As we saw in v.27, Paul wanted his friends to stand firm together like soldiers in battle, for only in that way could they withstand the attacks of the outside world. And yet, another matter needed to be addressed. It concerned their relationship to each other! Thus, Paul encourages them to be “like-minded”, that is, to agree concerning doctrine, faith and practice, especially, as it relates to fellow-believers. But it seems from Philippians 4:2 (with Euodia and Syntyche) that this was not the case. In order to make his joy full (2:2), Paul calls them to such like-mindedness. The opening words in v.1 are meant to encourage that: “If there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy…” Paul implies that they have these wonderful gifts of grace (the word “if” has the idea of “since”). It’s as if he asks, “Since you have this consolation, comfort, and fellowship, then why don’t you have unity? Why are you lacking it? What is hindering you?”
Sometimes as Christians, we have more “like-mindedness” in our efforts to confront false doctrine and opposition from the world than we do in cultivating unity in the church. But this ought not to be! Paul wants us to see our blessings in Christ as a means of unifying us so that we might live for each other and not drive each other apart.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for the unity of the church and pray for like-mindedness! Let us die to petty, foolish things that divide, and cling to the eternal things of God’s Word! This will encourage us in our faith and increase our love for each other.
Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.