In the last two posts in this series we looked at how standing together helps us encourage each other to live godly lives and not fear. In this post we will be looking at the third way Paul says standing together as Christians will help us: It helps us not give up.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Verses 29 and 30 tell us that we will suffer for our faith in Christ. It’s almost a certain reality – if we are obeying Jesus and putting him first in our lives, if we’re sharing the gospel and living how God instructs us to, then people will hate us. In some countries, like Australia where I live, this isn’t as obvious yet – but thats the exception, not the rule.
We need to “stand firm in one spirit”, encouraging each other so that when we suffer we won’t give up. It’s a fact of life – when we are trying to do thing alone it’s far easier to give up. But when your working with other people it’s easier to be encouraged by their example and to push on even though its tough. It’s like going for a jog – it’s easier to convince yourself to stop running when the pain starts if no one is around. But if you jog with a friend, it usually becomes easier to push on.
As Christians the same applies. When we work together we can encourage each other by reminding each other of God’s promises.We can pray for each other. We can know that we are not alone, and so we can push on far easier, even when its tough.
Are you finding it tough to stay on track as a Christian? Could it be helpful to you if you surrounded yourself with godly friends who you would be honest with and who would be honest with you?