May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
Perhaps you’re familiar with the movie Miss Congeniality. Perhaps not. It is, after all, a bit of a chick flick. But it does get oft quoted in our house. The story is about a threat to a beauty pageant and a butch FBI agent who goes undercover to save the pageant. There is a repeated two word phrase in the movie - “world peace.” It’s the expected thing for all the pageant participants to say. And it’s repeated a lot! At the end of the movie when FBI agent Gracie Hart gives her departing speech she says “And I really do want world peace.” It’s something we all want, but rarely find.
Peace is something, however, which should characterize the Christian community. Paul tells the Roman believers that they should be living together in such harmony that it can’t help but bring God glory! Jesus tells His followers “Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:35) These aren’t casual comments in a letter or a conversation. This harmony (i.e. love for each other) is to be a central identifier of our faith. (see John 13:34-35)
In a prayer at the end of his letter to Roman believers Paul calls on “the God of endurance and encouragement” to give those believers the ability to live in such harmony. But why “endurance and encouragement?” I believe it is because true harmony is impossible without God’s endurance and encouragement!! We need endurance because as broken people we will fail one another. It’s not a matter of if, but when! The Greek word for endurance signifies “a patient enduring, sustaining perseverance.” If we can’t endure the difficulty that being in relationship with broken people brings, we’re not going to be able to get along, let alone live in harmony! And we need encouragement because we are broken people who need to be lifted up.
How are you doing in these areas? Do you live harmoniously with your teammates? Your coaches? Your roommates? Your families? Appeal to the God of endurance and encouragement! He will graciously give you both endurance and encouragement!