This portion of Insights from the Journey is for my Fellow Sojourners to share their journeys with you.
Philippians 2:1-2, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affections and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
Paul provides four rhetorical questions (statements really) in this passage meant to stir our hearts into action. If we have received God's gifts then we are to pour them out to one another, our fellow sojourners.
First, if there is any encouragement in Christ then we are to encourage one another.
The old-timey word for encouragement is consolation, which is the comfort we receive after we have faced suffering. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16, we are assured that we are loved by God and that He has given us eternal comfort.
Spurgeon says it beautifully, “The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If I may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Christ is the medicine.”
All of Scripture is an encouragement to strengthen and establish us in faith. As new creations, we are now the vessels to spread that message of hope to one another when life brings difficulty and disappointment.
Second, if there is any consolation of love then we are to comfort one another.
This is similar to the preceding statement but adds the idea of a soothing sympathy. God strengthens us, helps us, and makes us strong by His love.
There is a sense of bravery spoken of here. The love of God makes us strong and it makes us brave!
2 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is the God of all comfort. There is no way He cannot comfort us and no circumstance we will face that is beyond His comfort.
We are exhorted to comfort others with the same comfort and love we have received.
Third, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit then we are to share in that life together.
Fellowship means sharing of things in common. We share life with the Spirit of God that has filled us. His Spirit guides us and moves us in our journeying.
We are partners, companions, co-laborers, co-soldiers, and fellow sojourners in this trek here on Earth. We are meant to share life together.
Last, if any affection and compassion then we are to pour out compassion and mercy to one another.
Paul is referring to the more tender emotions that are in the “bowels” of our very being. God touches the deepest places and is gentle, compassionate, and merciful with us. We are exhorted to treat each other in like manner.
Each of these gifts – encouragement in Christ, the comfort of love, the fellowship of the Spirit, affection and mercy – are spiritually communicated to us by Jesus and from Jesus through His people.
These writings from my Fellow Sojourners are meant to communicate God’s abounding love to you in. And, as you receive, give and pour out to others.
As we journey and share life together, these writings are meant to encourage, comfort, challenge, and exhort.