The precision and synchronization needed for sports like rowing always amaze me. You watch as up to eight people row in unison. They are serving together to achieve one objective, victory. Paul calls the church to have the same purpose in mind striving together for the faith. If we all work in unity, it will be an unstoppable force against Satan.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
The church in Philippi has unity issues. Some people were in it for themselves. They preached the gospel for personal gain and wanted their way in particular issues. It was tearing at the fabric of the church, so Paul encourages the saints in what he would like to see them accomplish. I love how Paul spends little time addressing issues and offers solutions instead. He wants their conduct to be worthy of the gospel, stand firm in the Spirit, and strive together for the gospel. In this encouragement, he addresses the unity issues and what needs to be done.
The danger every disciple faces is looking out for their best interests. When we turn our focus inward, we forsake the needs of others. Conversely, when we care for the needs of others, God has a way of taking care of our needs. Striving together for the faith means setting aside our agendas and desires and doing what is best for the body of Christ. It is something we have to die to daily to accomplish.
Striving together means that there is an objective and purpose that everyone is pulling for. As you work in unison with your brothers and sisters in Christ, you start to see victories in the church and personal lives. That creates momentum, which in turn produces growth. Stand firm in the Spirit, mind your manners and work together for the gospel.