Cultivating the Deepest Connection
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
My brother and I are only 15 months apart. So we shared all of our childhood experiences together, including a common canon of music and movies and random bits of entertainment that we mutually found hilarious that no one else would remember.
Even today, at age 45 and 44, I can text him the phrase “Dry Clothes!” and he would volley back from San Francisco the perfect response: “Food saver!”--a reference to an infomercial from back in the early 90’s that was mocked mercilessly by some morning d.j.’s we used to listen to on the drive into school to our sheer delight.
We are very, very different. But we were shaped by a similar set of experiences and we draw on this common well from time to time in order to laugh, share an inside joke, and sometimes to remind one another that we’re not alone.
This is something of what Paul is encouraging his friends in Philippi to do, only on a much bigger and more significant scale. He earnestly wants them to draw on this set of shared experiences in Christ to help them build a united church community.
Paul recognizes that human relationships will almost always slouch towards disunity. So he stokes the fires of their common experience in Christ to call them into something that will stand while all other communities around inevitably crumble.
Jesus has the potential to bring people together like nothing and no one else possibly can. With him, comes the power of forgiveness and the power to conquer all darkness. A unified church community is one of the most powerful demonstrations of the power of the gospel.
And here particularly, Paul emphasizes the life of the mind: to be “like-minded” and “of one mind.” Draw on what you mutually share in Christ to guard against splintering and factioning that so often happens in community.
Take just 30 seconds to list what you share in Christ with other believers. How does that equip you to be in community with those that you might not naturally get along easily or well with?