The only thing that qualifies us as children of God is faith in Christ Jesus. If we believe in Him, we are a child of God.
This is the precursor to Philippians 4:1-3:
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long form, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women sine 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.
These two women, Euodia and Syntyche, disagreed about something and it was causing trouble in the church. Paul was pleading with them to stand firm…to stand firm on what though?
We need a firm foundation for our relationships in the church, and even outside the church.
We need to focus on the grace and love of Jesus as the basis of unity, which is necessary in the church. We need to stand firm in unity that puts others before ourselves.
So how do we do that? What steps do we take to find unity?
Being inflexible can cause problems:
- physically – our muscles atrophy and our joints become stiff
- emotionally – bitterness and alone
If you cannot change, then you will find yourself all alone, bitter, and ineffective.
The Holy Spirit is our guide here. Jesus told Nicodemus the Holy Spirit blows wherever it pleases. Nicodemus thought he knew the law and what God was about, but he was wrong and needed to be able to change his thinking. He needed to be flexible.
Jesus was reprimanded for letting his disciples eat on the Sabbath and he had to remind the Jewish leaders that King David and his men ate consecrated bread from the priest. It’s okay to be flexible.
Peter was given a vision that it was okay to eat unclean meat. He had to be shown that flexibility was needed in order to save more souls. (The Gentiles would be included in God’s plan of salvation.)
In these examples, they had to question their religious foundation.
Is it a law or not a law? Or is the Spirit of God moving, urging us to be flexible? What is God doing and how is He at work in other’s lives?
Stand firm and be flexible. Is that an oxymoron? Actually, these aren’t necessarily opposite.
Stand firm in the way of Jesus – in grace, mercy, and love. Be flexible!
Don’t let anything pull you away from that wonderful grace and that fabulous love. If you pull away from grace and love in order to stand on law, being rigid and condemning, then you are wrong. Love always wins.
This unity that comes from being flexible must be guarded, and that comes from a commitment to embrace grace and love toward each other.
How will you commit to being flexible with those you disagree with? How will you show love and grace to those around you?
***Based on John Ketchersid’s sermon June 3, 2018
***Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay