Throughout the book of Philippians, Paul suggests that those within the Church are all part of a team. The Church is filled with all sorts of names, but ultimately the only name that matters is the one that's on the front of the church, and that's the name of Jesus. Why is Paul stressing this to Christians? It was because they were in the midst of a season of intimidation, opposition, and persecution.
Paul says, “Stand firm in one spirit, strive together as one for the gospel because while your faith is being tested on a daily basis, you don't need to fear those who oppose you.” The phrase “being frightened or terrified” has this idea that it is an inward fear produced by an outward stimulus. In this particular case, it was persecution because those living in Philippi who received this letter from Paul, they were facing it daily. It was an extremely violent time in history. But what was it that Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10, verse 28? He said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” We have a reverence and a healthy fear for God, but not for those who disagree with our faith or try to make life difficult for Christians.
You're not in this battle by yourself. There are others beside you and with you who are standing together in the faith; we are united. Remember Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.” When you worship with other believers, you are in community and you have a support network if you go through a rough time. In community, you have numerous opportunities to encourage others and to use your gifts. We are stronger together than we are a part. When the church is unified, God is glorified.
Discussion/Reflection Question: Reflect on a time that being a part of a Christian community helped make you stronger.