by Heather Tietz
If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
Family. Paul encourages the Philippians to change from a mere neighborhood of believers, to family, brothers and sisters in Christ. He’s the Father of the early church. Like any parent, he pleads, “Children, please, LOVE each other!”
Love for family requires every day laying down of self. We can’t control how our siblings in Christ treat us, so we discipline ourselves to love no matter what. We clean up our own defects as quickly as we can, but we’re patient and gracious when our fellow Christians sin. We offer encouragement for their accomplishments, and save our own trophies to be quietly realized later. Loving family is being on the alert for when and how to help. It’s hands-on, active, real and ready. No, it isn’t easy. It takes God’s strength to be merciful like Him, to be humble like Him, to extend kindness like Him.
Don’t be discouraged. Your frustration with doing right keeps you close to God, petitioning for His help. We need our Father’s strength in order to love our siblings. Be sure to continually refill yourself with it!