Together Is Better (Even if It's Harder)
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.
For the past couple of weeks we’ve been looking at what it means to be on the way with Jesus in our everyday lives.
This week, we’re going to be talking about the “we.” As in we together are on our way with Jesus.
Together is one of those words that some (not all) of us like in theory but have a hard time with in practice. It’s simpler to go it alone. Together takes work and initiative and time—precious time that we don’t really have. Some of us have yet to find anyone whose company is so incredibly riveting that it warrants putting up with the ways that they will inevitably annoy us.
Still others have us have had too many negative experiences with people. People disappoint you always, betray you sometimes, and maybe after all you’ve been you think they are worth it never.
The passage we’re going to look at this week opens with this salvo: knowing that you’ve received all sorts of blessings in Christ then….
Then what? Then go and sell all you have in order to give to the poor? Then go and share your faith with your non-Christian neighbors? Then give more money to Paul’s missionary travels (after all, Paul is the human reason why the Philippians have experienced all of these marvelous gifts)?
All of those things are great, and none of them are what Paul is after: “Knowing that you’ve received all of these wondrous gifts through Christ, then I want you to fulfill my joy by working at this whole ‘together’ thing.”
Of course this isn’t easy. Or even natural for some of us. If it was easy and natural we wouldn’t need Jesus to help us to do it.
So to start with this week, let’s name the internal blockages to ‘together.’ All of us have them, even those of us who love this whole ‘together’ thing. We all find ways to hide ourselves in some way from being together. Can you name yours? Are you willing to at least give those over to Jesus and let him do with them whatever he will?
Spend some time naming the internal world obstacles you have to being in community. Then ask Jesus to take at least one of them away.