A meditation presented by Chaplain Pastor Mark Gullerud to the West Central District Delegate Conference of the CLC, Grace Lutheran Church, Valentine, Nebraska (May 24, 2011)
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4, ESV
In the name of our Savior, who has united us together in a Christian fellowship that we might be of mutual help and support, dear fellow redeemed.
When I look in the newspaper and see the different support groups meeting in a given week, I am amazed at the number of groups. There are groups for those with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, or eating disorders. There are support groups for those who have family members suffering from such addictions and for those dealing with divorce or the death of a loved one.
Since there is need for such groups, what better support group can there be than the Christian fellowship?!
While children of this world are working with a flawed understanding of the basic nature of man and the root causes of man’s problems—and don’t possess divine counsel which gives answer to those problems—Christians are blessed by the Spirit of God with knowledge and understanding and with the spirit of mutual love.
The apostle Paul draws attention to certain necessary features in showing love and support for one another within the Christian fellowship.
When Paul calls upon us to be of the same mind and in full accord and of one mind, it is to be understood that the ground and basis for this oneness are the teachings of Holy Scripture. In this treasure trove of divine counsel we find solutions to all problems we will ever be faced with in this sin-cursed world.
Whenever a brother or sister in the Lord is dealing with personal, troubling issues, the Lord wants us to support them by supplying the necessary divine counsel. And God would have the troubled soul receive that counsel with a meek spirit and a ready mind and heart.
The attitude we show toward the troubled soul is so important. If a brother or sister in Christ is struggling with some kind of sinful behavior, and we look down upon them as though they are inferior, they certainly aren’t going to open up about their problems or even be willing to accept our help. A loving, humble spirit is called for, so that those who are troubled will see that we are genuinely concerned about their welfare. Paul exhorts, “in humility count others more significant
The Spirit urges us to draw upon the help that we ourselves have received so that we can be of support to one another. “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy….”
How often haven’t we experienced difficulties which caused us to be discouraged or depressed, but then through the Word of Christ we received the encouragement which uplifted our hearts, giving us new courage and strength in the Lord? Having received that kind of support ourselves, the Lord would have us share it with Christian brethren.
The same is true in regard to our being comforted by the Lord. Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
A Christian brother or sister may be grieving over the death of a spouse or loved one. As we received great comfort from God’s Word, we can provide the same comfort to them. Whatever the situation in life, God wants us to do this.
All of us have problems. As we all need the help and support of others, what better support group can there be than that of our fellow believers?! When others are in need of help, reach out to them.
May God grant us grace to be a source of support in the Lord to one another.
Dear Lord, we thank You for bringing us into Your family of believers, the Christian fellowship. Knowing that You have gathered us together so that we can be of mutual help and support, enable us to be there for one another, giving a needed word of encouragement and comfort in our troubled times of life.
We pray in Jesus’ name.