“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard...For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3
The apostle Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel of Jesus. His calling from the Lord was unique and significant. He had urgent and important messages to convey and write about. Reading through Philippians 4 recently, I was struck by a few verses that Paul took the time to pause and write: “I plead with you Eudia and I plead with you Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with…the rest of the fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:2-3
The disagreement between these siblings in the Lord was causing division and disunity, so much so that Paul wrote about it in this public letter. The NIV Study Bible note indicates that Paul’s handling of the situation is a model for us. He did not take sides. Rather, he encouraged other believers close to these women to promote reconciliation.
In Christian marriages, we ought to pay special attention to these commands of the Lord. Disagreements and division between siblings in the Lord are distracting, painful and unhealthy to the Body of Christ. Divisions in marriage, if gone unchecked, unaddressed and unresolved, can be devastating. Even seemingly small divisions in our marriage can become cavernous if not given our proper, Biblical care. Note that the first sentence in the key scripture above ends with an exclamation point! “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Exclamation point! Good and pleasant!
The “precious oil” in Psalm 133 signifies total consecration and sanctified harmony. And as the “dew” would make the mountains richly fruitful, so would Christian unity make our lives richly fruitful. Our hurt, pride and selfishness cause us to dry up the fruit He so greatly desires to produce in us. “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” John 15:8 (NIV) Oh how God desires our Christian marriages to be in sanctified harmony and bearing much fruit. As we yield are our hearts to Him and abide in His Word, this can be so.
We aren’t told the details of the disagreement between these two sisters in the Lord in Philippians 4. But we all know the discomfort and pain associated with such division. The Bible gives us valuable insight to some reasons for disorder and lack of peace and tells us that “wisdom from heaven” is our solution. James 3:16-18 (NIV): “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder…But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” This passage halts my heart before the Lord and begs Him to search it. Show me any offensive way in me, such as envy or selfish ambition, and lead me in the way everlasting. By Your grace and wisdom, make me a lover of peace so you can raise a harvest of righteousness through me, Lord. Let me be fully of mercy and good fruit. May my heart be pure, considerate, submissive, impartial and sincere. May it be so in my marriage and all of my relationships, Lord. Thank you.
We are called to “Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14 (NIV) Often we let ourselves linger in the uncomfortableness and ache of division with our sibling (spouse) in the Lord, rather than seeking peace and pursing it. The “good and pleasant” should supplant the division and pain.
Do you need to make peace and restore unity with your spouse (or someone else) today? Consider the precious oil and the rich fruit that bring Him glory. As God leads in His grace and love, prayerfully seek peace and pursue it. For there the Lord bestows upon us His blessing, even life forevermore.
Giver of New Life, search my heart and give me the grace and courage to seek peace and pursue it with my spouse. Mend any brokenness in our relationship. May Your precious oil pour down over our hearts. May the dew of your living water bear rich fruit through our marriage is it is anchored in unity through You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Cor. 1:10 (NIV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:2-3 (NIV)
“Love must be sincere…Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10 (NIV)
© 2010 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.