ODJ: together

February 22, 2015 

READ: Philippians 1:27-2:2 

We are in this struggle together (1:30).

A strange phenomenon is occurring all around me as I write this article. Tucked into the warm splendour of my niece’s living room, I’m observing ants occasionally crawling and darting about on the walls. Why is this strange? Well, there’s nearly 2 feet of snow outside her home, and it was -28°C a few days ago. So I’ve been wondering, How are these tiny creatures surviving? It appears they’re doing so by sticking together, working together and dwelling in the warmth found inside the house.

Paul was probably well acquainted with ants as he sat in a prison cell and wrote his epistle to the church at Philippi. And much like my little friends on the walls around me, the apostle wanted his readers to “[stand] together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith” (Philippians 1:27). Paul was behind prison bars and the believers who he was writing to were facing persecution, so they were truly in a “struggle together” (v.30).

But was Paul tossing in the towel? Had he given up the fight? No way. As he wrote his epistle of joy, Paul encouraged his friends to “live as citizens of heaven” and to share in the “privilege of trusting in Christ . . . [and] of suffering for Him” (vv.27,29). Though they faced the bitter ‘elements’ of outside forces that threatened to destroy them, Paul wrote of the warming hope that they would be “saved, even by God Himself” (v.28).

It’s vital that you and I walk with other believers in Jesus through the difficulties and faith-challenging attacks of this world. Together we can experience encouragement, comfort, fellowship and compassion “in the Spirit” (2:1). Let’s stick together, work together and dwell in the warmth of God’s love.

—Tom Felten

365-day plan› Numbers 22:5-38

Read Ephesians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:12 and see how Paul encouraged his readers to live to glorify Jesus together. 
What has been causing you to pull away from other believers in Jesus? How can you encourage someone today to press on in the faith? 
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