Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Playing in a band takes a lot of effort and skill. As you know, learning to play an instrument proficiently takes hours of practice. If you’ve ever tried this, or seen a band start up, you know that usually it takes a while before the band starts to sound any good. After a while of practice and dedication though, often things start to come together and the music begins to actually sound good!
Paul challenges us to be “like-minded” and “one in spirit and mind.” A literal translation is “be united in spirit and harmonious.” The Greek word used here is sympsychos. Notice the prefix sym, which means “together”. Now think of the word symphony. The Greek root word phon means, “sound”. Do you see (hear)—Sound or music that blends together creating harmony?
Christians who are loving, tender, and compassionate toward others are like a harmonious symphony. This is how Christ intended us to be. Now, imagine listening to a symphony playing conflicting notes that clash and clang, reminiscent to fingernails on a chalkboard. This is the epitome of discordant, which means conflicting, disagreeing and quarrelsome.
It is of the upmost importance for Christians to demonstrate Christ’s love through our unity. If we are not unified (in truth and love), then we become discordant and our message is like the clanging cymbal Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Our world today is full of conflict and division. How will the church reach the world for Christ if its members are quarrelsome, disagreeing, and unloving? Remember, God designed us with differences. The church is not a one-instrument band, but a symphony of many different gifts and personalities that should complement and blend harmoniously.
Are you striving to be united with the brothers and sisters Christ has put in your life—even the ones that are “different” from you? What are some practical ways you can be more intentional about being one in spirit and of mind with other Christians?