READING: Isaiah 33-36, Philippians 4
I wish it didn’t happen, but it does. Regardless of how strong a local church might be, members get aggravated with each other and allow separation to take place. Sometimes, the division is so strong between particular believers that it affects the entire church. That’s apparently the case Paul faced with the Philippian church—a congregation he deeply loved.
Two women, Eudodia and Syntyche, were in strife, apparently opposed to each other for some reason. The text doesn’t tell us what their conflict was, but it was large enough that Paul felt the need to address it publicly in this letter. It’s likely that these women were leaders in the church—perhaps there in the prayer group that marked the beginning of the church (Acts 16:13)—and their influence on the congregation was strong. Paul thus pleaded with them to “agree in the Lord” (Phil 4:2), having the same mind for the sake of the gospel. If the women could not reconcile themselves, they were to seek another believer who would help bring resolution to their situation. These two women had “contended for the gospel” at Paul’s side (Phil 4:3), and he wanted them to walk in unity for the continued witness of the gospel.
Our responsibility is to (1) live in harmony with brothers and sisters in Christ, and (2) help mediate when others are at odds with each other. When we strive to fulfill our responsibilities, the supernatural unity that God creates in His church is a witness to the transforming power of the gospel.
PRAYER: “Lord, show me where I need to be reconciled with others.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 37-39, Colossians 1:1-23