“Only, live as a citizen worthy of the Gospel of Christ, in order that if in coming and seeing you or in being absent, I might hear in regards to you that you are standing in one spirit — of one life, struggling along in the faith of the Gospel.”
There are few things more gratifying than seeing a person that you have mentored in the faith growing on his or her own and flourishing in the faith. And, in this case, it is not just an individual, but a church. Indeed, there are many who participate together in this process, for it is one who plants, another who waters, and God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-9), so often we are not privileged to see the fruit of our labors while we are still alive on this earth…it is about God’s glory and not our own, nevertheless, when God graces us with the privilege of seeing that fruit, it is a rich blessing indeed…and even if not in seeing, but in hearing, again, there is much joy in seeing the fruit develop that you have been privileged to care for.
Thus, it is Paul’s desire to see or hear of the Christians in Philippi being of one spirit and struggling together as one to live out the faith of the Gospel. And the reality is, living out a genuine faith, whether in times of persecution or not, is challenging. All too often Christians seek to live out their faith as individuals standing alone rather than as individuals who are part of a Christian body. All too often, for fear of embarrassment, Christians turn down the help of their brothers and sisters in faith who would be more than willing to walk alongside of them during times of trial…like the old pop song, goes: “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be a friend, help you to carry on…” That should be the mantra and expectation of life in the Christian church. To what end? To the end that we walk in spiritual strength and the sins that so often cause us to stumble and fall, do not plague our lives any longer.