27 Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together to remain faithful to the gospel.
On the surface, this one verse is loaded! How in the world are we as one church, let alone the whole of the Christian church, supposed to be united in spirit and mind? I looked up other translations and here is the last part of this verse in a few of them:
New International Version: “I will know that you stand firm in the one spirit striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”
The Message: “Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message.”
New Living Translation: “I know you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.”
I have to admit – I am one of those people that sometimes likes to argue for the sake of an argument. Joe can certainly testify to this statement! I feel that I sometimes just see things differently (as you can probably tell from my devotions). I have often been the voice of dissent at a book club or a church meeting. Obviously, my family and friends know this about me, and sometimes I can be a bit much. This passage can make me a bit uncomfortable until I look at the end of the verse, and in all the different translations it states the obvious. We as Christians believe in the Gospel/The Good News/The Message that God loves us and Christ died and rose for us. We are to stand firm in that belief in all we do. We may not agree or carry that out the same way, we may use our gifts differently to help others and proclaim our faith, but the basic tenet of our faith is something we can be of one mind and spirit about. When it comes down to it, this verse should not be a question. Instead, it should be an answer to how we interact with each other when we disagree, so that we can see each other as trying to live out our faith and our purpose.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you find it hard to remember that others who claim Christianity have the same basic tenets to their faith that you do, when they go about it so differently? In what ways might we try to focus on THAT, instead of on our disagreements about how to get things done?
Prayer: God of our faith, please help us to remember that as Christians, we are called to be of one mind and spirit in knowing that you love us all and sent Christ into the world to bring us to You. Help us to see others as You see them and to work with them to share this Good News. Amen.