Scripture: “… Contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” (Philippians 1:27-28) 

Observation: Paul writes to encourage the Philippians.  He reminds them that God is at work in their lives (16), and he prays for them that their love may abound (1:9).  But he also warns them that with faith and witness comes persecution (1:14 – Paul is in chains; and 1:29 – Christians will experience suffering).  But he tells them that no matter what happens, they should conduct themselves according to the gospel (1:27).  I believe this is because our conduct under persecution is our best witness!  And so Paul says “stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the gospel.” 

Application: How do we do that?  So many of our actions have to do with self-defense, or self-preservation!  Even in ministry, we can fall prey to positioning and wanting the respect and compensation that is due us.  Furthermore, it they are to contend as ONE MAN, a body of believers must remain connected in loving relationships.  So often, Christians are leading quiet lives independent of each other. 

Prayer: Father, help the people of Saving Grace draw together in unity, sharing your Word, Sacraments and your love and peace.  May we give a united witness to you. Amen.