The Cure to Conflict
A daily devotion for March 26th
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. (Phil 4:2)
In these few verses he turns the spotlight on the problem that has been dimly discernible all along in this letter. There were in the church at Philippi two lovely ladies who were quarreling with one another. They were in some kind of disagreement and the quarrel had spread to others in church. Some were taking sides, and it was beginning to threaten the unity of the church. They hadn't divided yet, it wasn't a church split, but they were on the verge of it.
He says what is needed to settle the difficulty, on the basis of the marvelous revelation given in this letter of the life we have in Jesus Christ. Now it comes down to the practical actions — two things to be done. First of all: agree in the Lord. That means finding common ground. You know how it is when we have a quarrel with someone or their personality rubs us the wrong way — they're one of those irritating people who always do things differently and are hard to live with — and our tendency is to say oh, we've nothing in common with them, and go our separate ways. But the apostle says this is absolutely wrong for Christians. Separations between believers in Jesus Christ must never be permitted, for it is quite wrong to say you have nothing in common. Christians always have something in common in the Lord. Therefore they are to agree and get together in the Lord.
It's impossible to know what this quarrel was about, but we don't need to know. For whatever the areas of disagreement, there are always vast areas of agreement in the Lord for believers. The apostle is urging these two ladies to get together and talk about those, and from that agreement begin to work on the problems on which they disagree. They would soon find that starting from that basis the areas of disagreement would begin to shrink until there was nothing left and they were agreed together in the Lord.
The second activity is the theme of the letter: Rejoice in the Lord. That is also necessary. In order to agree it is needful to find that place where you can begin to rejoice in what is taking place. Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say — this is the mark of spiritual maturity — Rejoice in the Lord.
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you, he writes to the Thessalonians. Learn that all that comes into your life, even these irritating disagreements with others, is sent of the Lord either to reveal something in your own heart that you haven't seen or to give you an opportunity to manifest the sweet reasonableness of the Lord Jesus.
Father, in the conflicts and disagreements in which I find myself with my brothers and sisters in Christ, teach me to agree together in the Lord and rejoice, that through these struggles you may work out your good purpose in each of us.
Life Application: Are we learning to see disagreements with other Christians as opportunities to affirm our spiritual unity in Christ, and to deepen our mutual joy in being His fellow servants?
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