The Power of One: Standing Together When Things are Shaky
Believers must strive for unity as a demonstration of our faith in Christ.
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.
It is always encouraging when believers are able to stand together in the face of difficulty and opposition. Oftentimes, opposition comes from the outside. Other times, opposition comes from within. Yes, believers often find themselves at odds with other believers. And while the reasons are unending, the end result is always the same: damage to our witness, weakening of our bond, and fracturing of essential relationships. Division destroys.
The Apostle Paul, in his famous letter to the believers of Philippi, was insistent of their commitment to unity. Paul knew the power of one or oneness, which is achieved when believers humble themselves for the greater good of the Kingdom. He also knew of the ongoing temptation of always “being right” and the temptation of always “having the last word.” So, Paul admonished these believers to focus!
Just One Thing
Theologians have suggested that this scripture (Phillipians 1:27) is a motto-text for the entire book of Philippians. Paul was adamant about unity. So, of all the things he would write, he wanted to draw everyone’s attention to this singular focus: “standing firm in one spirit…”
Paul wants to hear that the Phillipians are, in fact,
- Living by the Spirit of God: surrendering to God’s Spirit moment by moment.
- Living in the spirit of unity: committing oneself to promote unity with other believers.
- Living in the fight for the gospel: battling for souls on the front lines as a missionary.
He wants these objectives to be fulfilled together!
The Power of The One
As believers, we know that our ultimate home is eternal. Our home is beyond what we now see. That fact gives us a sense of peace and purpose that empowers us when we face difficulty or division. We are to remind ourselves and others that we have an eternal home that has been prepared for us, so we know that “this” is not as good as it gets.
Additionally, we know of the one who made all of this possible: Jesus Christ. He has endured the cross so that we can experience the beauty of Heaven. When we are troubled on every side, we can take confidence in His power to enable us to endure, and to ultimately thrive!
A Sign of Your Salvation
In verse 28, Paul lowers the boom on believers by offering an additional reason that we are to fulfill the Power of One. Paul writes that our unity is a “sign of [our] salvation.” Our willingness to be unified for God’s glory is connected to our witness. Our unity lets the world know that we have been transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a sign!
The world longs for substantive and authentic people who represent their beliefs well. When they look to us, to our churches, to our families, and to our ministries, they long to see people who live what they profess! The world wants to see real people who actually live out their faith in practical ways. What better way to display authenticity than through a unified front?
As difficult as unity can be, we must continually strive for being at peace with all men, for loving our brothers and sisters with truth and compassion, for walking in humility to ensure God’s glory is revealed, and for consistently modeling forgiveness and restoration. This is a sign that we are walking in the Power of One!
Pray this week:
Lord, help me to love my brothers and sisters. Help me to walk in humility, as Christ modeled. Help me to extend forgiveness, to give the benefit of the doubt when there is confusion, and to extend grace to others. Help me to model the power of one in my home, at my church, and in my ministry. All for your glory. In Christ’s name, amen.
Unity can be difficult. What hindrances have you experienced in your pursuit of unity? What examples of successful reconciliation have you experienced? What steps will you take going forward to keep unity at the forefront of your relationships?