Philippians 2:2 Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (NASB)
In today’s key scripture in Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to “be of the same mind” or in other translations, “of one mind”. In my church experience and experience with other Christians I can certainly point to many occasions where “being of one mind” would not be the objective description of our interactions. But how could we be of one mind as we are just so different? Paul says in Romans 12:4-5 “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” So how can you possibly get a group so different be of the same mind?
My cousin’s boys, the Dean brothers, played musical instruments in their high school marching bands. Especially in the United States, such bands are fixtures at every football game often playing in front of thousands of fans, even at high school events. While each of the three Dean brothers played different brass instruments, and while the band also included a wide variety of woodwind and percussion instruments, the result was not dysfunctional noise, but rather harmony. I believe that it was this same type of “harmony” that Paul was preaching for, which is far more fragrant than “sameness”.
We don’t get much context, but in Paul’s letter to the Philippians in the 4th chapter he addresses two ladies who seemed to have had a disagreement, two individuals who had worked with Paul. “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2, NASB). As a Christian Athlete you will come into situations of disagreement with your fellow believers, situations where we cannot understand their perspective. Sometimes those disagreements can involve core Biblical principles and can involve heretical teachings or sinful behavior that needs to be addressed, but from my experience in life, the vast majority of disagreements stem from less critical items and usually are a function of our different personalities, our upbringing or culture, and often our own sinful flesh. In the latter case, we need to adopt humble and appreciative attitudes; we need to learn to appreciate other’s contributions and perspectives.
In my lifetime I have never seen the level of disunity that I see in today’s world. There is disunity around issues of politics, issues of sexuality, issues surrounding the environment and, most relevant today, issues involving health concerns. While disunity within the world is of no surprise to me, as Satan is called the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), what has saddened me is the significant disunity within “the Church”. There has always been disunity between churches who do, and those who do not hold to the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it is disappointing to see such discord within the true family of God.
We need to be prepared to fight for unity so that what the world sees and hears is a loving harmonious orchestra rather than clanging gongs and resounding cymbals (1 Corinthians 13). May we be one in the Lord, so that we can create beautiful harmony, “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21, NASB). May you stand up and be a peacekeeper; in doing so, you will be blessed (Matthew 5:9).