The Struggle

Philippians 4:1-3

1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.

3 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.

Today is a short message with what I feel is a lot of meaning. Let’s do this today verse-by-verse.

Verse 1, as we have seen before, is Paul’s excitement to be reunited with these people. Somehow I instantly think about family reunions, regardless of how small or large. How do we look at those opportunities? Do we see it as an excuse to groan and complain or an opportunity to congregate with those we love? It’s easy to talk about Aunt Mildred who always tells the same stories or Uncle John who always pinches your cheeks. What about how they feel when they see you? Are they delighted to see you or do they complain about you just the way you do about them? It’s the same way with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do we look forward to seeing them on Sunday, or any other day of the week where we get together as a family? Or rather do we enter it with the intention of avoiding specific people because they shake your hand awkwardly or they said something in the past you didn’t agree with? We are all family and should treat each other as such. Next time, try to go into it with a positive attitude and evaluate how you felt when you left.

Verse 2 is in reference to a dispute among 2 people within the church. Supposedly, there is no evidence of what the dispute was about, however it is not necessary. Aside from the obvious: that two followers of Christ should not quarrel, let’s look at Paul’s perspective. It seems that Paul really isn’t involved in the dispute other than being an observer. But what does he do? He steps up to encourage the two. He uses the word harmony to explain how they should be. He didn’t say they have to be happy with each other. Nor do they have to agree with each other. Rather, they should put aside their differences…why? The Lord. It is for His glory we should do these things.

Verse 3: My study bible says that the “true companion” is unknown, but I feel like this is in reference to everyone. Every true follower of Christ and member of the church (at least should be true companions). Paul implores the Body of Christ to chip in and help these two who are struggling, as we know that differences that cause issues like this in the church are definitely not of God and as we spoke about before, it is the duty of those that are not struggling to help those that are. We all struggle at times and this time is no different, as Paul uses his example to show that none of us are impervious to struggle and that the Christian life is not easy, nor should it be ventured into alone. He tries to relate to the congregation with another from among them, Clement.

Where are we today? Are we in the struggle needing help or are we in the place of seeing a struggle that we should help resolve?

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