Do you ever read verses in the Scripture when you feel like it’s beating a dead horse? It’s funny to me how whoever chooses the Bible Verse of the Day at Biblegateway.com kind of seems to choose a topic and then finds verses to support it. But it’s also funny to me that the topics the Verse of the Day often repeats and repeats and repeats are the same topics people have a hard time remembering. So maybe that horse isn’t dead yet after all . . .
Today’s passage is Philippians 2:1-2.
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Unity. Be of one mind. Work with one purpose. Agree wholeheartedly with each other. Love each other. Sound familiar? A lot like yesterday’s post. But different. Because it was written by a different person.
Yesterday’s verse (1 Peter 3:8) was written by Peter.
Today’s verse (Philippians 2:1-2) was written by Paul.
Yet they wrote the same thing, almost word for word.
And let’s just say this, folks, if Peter and Paul could find a way to be of one mind a purpose, anyone can.
Peter was a fisherman, loud mouthed, abrasive, impulsive and uneducated.
Paul was a scholar, a high-ranking Jewish leader with more education than he probably knew what to do with.
Peter was flamboyant, an intense, emotional person.
From what I can tell, Paul was more reserved, more of a thinker.
Peter was one of the original twelve disciples Jesus chose, who lived with Him for three years.
Paul was chosen after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension (still chosen by Christ, but Paul didn’t follow Him while He was alive on Earth).
Peter was older.
Paul was younger.
And let’s not forget the most obvious disparity in their relationship. Peter led many to the Lord following Jesus’ ascension. . . . . And, at first, Paul killed them.
That was Paul’s job. Persecuting Christians. I believe He was present at the stoning of Stephen, another Christ follower mentioned in Scripture. It’s likely he held the coats of the men who threw the rocks.
Of course, when God got a hold of Paul, his life changed (and so did his name, as previously he was named Saul). But even if God forgets our sins, it’s hard for the people around us to do the same. Imagine the Disciples’ shock when Paul, who had murdered scores of their freinds and colleagues, walked into their midst claiming to be a follower of God. I can imagine the look on Peter’s face, as the impulsive one of the group. And I’m sure a great number of disagreements broke out. And I’m sure Peter and Paul may not have been the best of friends, but they were willing to put their differences aside and work together because they could agree on what mattered.
Is there a Christian you know who’s solid theologically but that you have a hard time getting along with?
Compare your relationship with that person to the relationship of Peter and Paul. And if you don’t know what to do with that person follow their example. Put aside the things that you don’t like and put aside the picky little details you can’t agree on and focus on the big picture.
Do you have to be best friends? No. When it comes to close friendships, you need to be with someone who encourages you or enriches you, and even though other Christians may mean well, they don’t always speak your language.
But you do need to agree. And you do need to support each other. And you do need to be of one mind and one purpose.
And if God could help two people as different from each other as Peter and Paul work together for the same goal, He can do the same for us. We just have to let Him.