In This Together

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ

Jesus Philippians 2:1-5

To read from a New Testament epistle during Advent might seem like an odd choice, as this isn’t a book typically talked about during the Christmas season. It works, though, because when talking about peace, it all centers on Jesus, the basis of Paul’s message here. Writing to this early Christian community from prison and concerned for their well- being, Paul addressed a group of people who seem to have been struggling with divisions in their ranks, allowing arguments and differences to separate and divide them, and this is definitely something Paul didn’t want to see.

Peace isn’t something that just happens. It isn’t something to passively wait for, but instead something that has to develop through intentional focus. Think about the times you’ve had to work hard to maintain peace. What was necessary? It involved focus, intent, and purpose.

Establishing peace, the peace we long for in this world, takes a similar recognition, just on a larger scale. To have peace is to care for one another despite the differences or things we don’t like, to work side by side to accomplish the work Christ has set before us and be the church Christ wants us to be.

Essentially, Paul asked the Philippian church a critical question, one we do well to ask in this Advent season, that gives us pause to inventory ourselves, has following Jesus made a difference in your life? Now, when Paul asked this question, he didn’t do so of any particular reader, but all who would read those words, the plural “you.” All of you.

Has Jesus made a difference in all our lives?

Paul said if we are united with Christ, if we share of the Spirit, if we practice tenderness and compassion, then we make our faith complete by sharing that same love, spirit, and mind, of caring for each other. That is what it means to work for peace. Where we want to see peace sown, we have to be agents of peace now. We have to focus on the things that unite us rather than those that divide.

In Jesus, we see that peace in human form.

We celebrate his arrival because when Jesus came into this world, he brought the love of God with him. He showed us how we’re to live and love, giving his own life for all of us to help us see that we share this responsibility.

We’re in this together.

— Trent Sessoms
Senior Pastor, Knightdale Baptist Church

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