“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;”
It is amazing how people with different personalities and backgrounds can come together to play on the same team in sports. I played sports when I was in high school. If you were to go to the teams I played on and interview each player; you would find that each player had their own thoughts about life situations, religion, and beliefs. Yet, when it came to playing the game, we laid aside our differences for the sake of our team. We would strive together for the single cause of winning the game.
Two times in the Scriptures God tells His children to strive together. The first time is found in the verse above when it says, “…strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;” Paul was begging the Christians to join forces with him in prayer that he would be delivered from the chains of prison so that he could continue to spread the Gospel around the world. Paul understood the power of corporate prayer, and he was asking that they have the same mind to pray for his release.
The second time is found in Philippians 1:27 where it says, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” Paul charged these Christians to strive for the faith of the Gospel. In other words, he was asking them to lay down their differences so the Gospel could be spread around the world.
Two things must happen if Christians are going to strive together. First, Christians must lay aside their agenda for the cause to strive. There is no room for agenda driven Christianity when it comes to the faith and prayer. The faith is more important than any personal agenda. Getting prayers answered is much more important than our petty issues being brought to the forefront. Many prayers could be answered if Christians would put aside their agenda to pray for each another. The faith could be furthered in each church if every person were willing to lay aside their agenda so that the Gospel of Christ could be spread to the lost world.
Second, Christians must be willing to work with each other. The key word in both of these verses is “together.” The LORD’s work will continue to suffer when Christians are not willing to work with each other in their church. Personality conflicts, nepotism and personal agendas have kept many Christians from working with each other. My friend, the cause of Christ is much greater than these. Reaching the lost souls for Christ is much greater than any personal agenda or personality difference that you have with someone. If the cause of Christ is going to be furthered, you must be willing to work with others and be longsuffering with them so that you can reach the lost for Christ.
Striving together does not mean that we compromise truth for the sake of working together. In fact, if you are going to strive together for the faith, you must uphold the faith. Striving together is not the focus, but the faith and answered prayers are the focus in these verses. If you must compromise the faith just so that you can strive together, you must then choose to strive alone. Certainly, much more could be done if we strive together, but striving together must not be a call to compromise.