Striving side by side in unity and love is how Christ is reflected to the world.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
The church has a common goal and a common adversary. Paul pleads with both the Philippians and the church in Corinth to unite in mutual striving together against all foes – side by side, shoulder to shoulder, in one mind and heart. Paul asks these churches to resist the enemy, establish true faith, and advance the gospel of Christ. Much like a team of athletes, the church strives together to reach their God-given goal.
Having received salvation, team members are now empowered to live a godly life and represent the Lord Jesus. Each member of the church team contributes and uses his or her gifts to make Jesus known. That’s why Paul asks his friends to strive together in the fight “for the faith” (Philippians 1:27) or for the spiritual welfare of others. It is in contending – as a team of athletes would – as well as in co-operation with one another that Jesus’ love is made known. Striving side by side in unity and love is then how Christ is reflected to the world.
Paul insists that the Philippian’s can stand without fear (Philippians 1:28) because what they believe and how they act will keep them standing at the end of the battle. Not going back, not giving in, not yielding to pressure but resolutely holding onto the truth is what following Christ entails. That means that discipline and training together is hugely beneficial. Working together and fighting together for the cause of Christ takes practice. You can join the Watchmen tonight to practice praying and fighting the good fight together. Meet the group Wednesday evening at 7:00pm in the Conference room at South Fellowship Church.
By Donna Burns