Philippians 2:1–3 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Sometimes, in the middle of our honorable pursuits, we get buried by the pursuit. We make it our aim to improve, to clean out the garage; but the unending dust, piles of junk and grime become overwhelming. We just want to quit. As a church, we have been pursuing the removal of idols in our hearts that defame the gospel and distort the character of God we are to display. Be careful in this work to keep the right end in mind.
Three obvious discouragements from a right pursuit in the gospel have been on my mind: striving in human effort, judging the progress of others, and making the arrival rather than the relationship the aim. In the midst of His suffering and to a suffering church, the apostle Paul gives joyful instruction that can draw us to Christ out of our discouragement. He says there is comfort, help, and refreshment in Christ. So clearly we should eschew our self-efforts and be IN Christ. LOVE, the love of Christ in living, dying, and interceding for us, calls us to a calm in Him. So angst in our process speaks of self, not of this grace relationship that is ours. Further, because He is this comfort and constant helper, humility and unselfishness will be the byproduct; a byproduct that produces a like mindedness. We then demonstrate a sympathy and love for each other that will produce joy in us all which further fosters this togetherness.
God calls us to relationship with each other by relationship with Him. Do not make “cleaning up your act” the aim. Rather, make relationship with Christ, in Christ, your joy and your pursuit. This will involve some cleaning no doubt. Participation in the Spirit will produce confession and putting off as well as putting on right action. But the Spirit guides us to do this so we will hear the love of Christ and know the calm of Christ in us. Striving with calm in joy sounds like a great time in the garage. Don’t trade this for the discouraging task it feels and looks like at first.