Saturday, August 13, 2011

Encouragement in Christ

The Search for Joy
Encouragement in Christ
Philippians 2:1-4
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Divisiveness, selfishness, and sewing discord among the brethren is usually generated by only a few people in the church––destroying unity between believers and fracturing the congregation.  So, when Paul wrote, “ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ,” he was saying, “If there be any encouragement in Christ, any help, counsel, exhortation, or coming along side to be another helper,” then do this. “ If any comfort of love,” portrays Christ coming to the believer with gentle, tender guidance, in loving compassion. Spiritual unity brings “fellowship of the Spirit,” or a partnership among true believers because the hope of eternal life draws Christians together. God has extended to every believer His great affection and mercy which in the end, should result in oneness and harmony in Christ. Now days, as well as in the days of the Apostle Paul, Christians were rising up against other Christians, how does this promote unity among believers? You’re right!  It doesn’t!
Paul wrote, “ Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind,” which communicates, “make my joy complete by thinking the same way that I do in loving all believers justly, compassionately, and affectionately as Christ has shown to us. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;” speaks of the pride that causes people to push for their own ways in empty conceit and self ambition having no proper honor for others through humility and lowliness of mind. “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (I Peter 2:15-17).
Selfishness is an all consuming and destructive sin in the life of a believer. Selfishness breeds anger, resentment and jealousy and is often clothed in a cloak of piety promoting ones own spiritual abilities, “all for the cause of Christ.” Discord and division of the brethren is inevitable when people focus on their own agendas and disregard fellow believers in sinful indifferences that produce jealousy, strife, contention and in the end, disunity. Paul’s heart was to bring oneness to believers, true joy, fellowship, love for one another, esteeming one another in the compassion and mercy of Christ.

Thoughts:  If it hurts my heart that Christians disregard and neglect other Christians, what do you think it does to the heart of God?  Are you esteeming others before yourself? Is your agenda first place in your life or are the needs of another Christians more important? True unity comes from a heart that cares for others more than caring for oneself. My Christian friend, encourage unity among other believers and put aside indifferences that produce strife, conflict, division and opposition.

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