“Destroying Christian Fellowship” ( 1 Peter 3: 8, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“All of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult, but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you are called for this, so you can inherit a blessing.” ( 1 Peter 3: 8 – 9 )

Peter calls us to hold to sound doctrine and so be “like-minded;” but he also calls us to be “sympathetic,” recognizing that on some less critical matters, we may disagree with one another yet with understanding. We decide to be “sympathetic.” Peter calls us to “be compassionate and humble.” Often pride is what separates us from one another. We claim to be closer to Christ than another, and so build a wall — our spiritual pride destroying Christian fellowship.

Sometimes, we even go so far as to insult one another. And, we often pretend that it is because we have a special knowledge to which another Christian is not privy. Sometimes, we go so far as to call another Christian “evil.” In doing so, we “pay back evil for evil.”

Peter calls us to “love believers” and to “give a blessing”: actions which are completely contrary to pride and revenge. As we give blessings, Peter reminds us that we then “can inherit a blessing.”

As Greg Surratt, senior pastor of Seacoast Church, said in a recent sermon, “Blessing follows obedience.”

“Focus On One Goal” ( Philippians 2: 1 – 2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Paul asks us — as Christians — to “focus on one goal.” Our single goal is to “make [our] own attitudes that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2: 5) Christ, though equal with God the Father, empties Himself and takes on “the likeness of men,” humbling Himself “by becoming obedient to the point of death.” (Philippians 2: 6 – 8) Jesus surrenders His place of glory for “the interests of others.” (Philippians 2: 4)

Paul asks us to be and do the same as Jesus — reminding us that we have “encouragement in Christ.” We have “consolation of love.” We have “fellowship with the Spirit.” We have “affection and mercy.” Given these, we also should think like one another, share the same love as one another, share the same feelings as one another and focus on that single goal of being like Jesus.