When we get to the end of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we discover the reason for the letter: Two Christian women, Euodia and Syntyche, are at one another’s throats.
They aren’t just any women. They have been partners with Paul in his ministry and their names are written in the “book of life.” But their tiff has divided them from one another and, in taking sides, it has divided the congregation and stolen the joy and peace that ought to be characteristic of the family of God. The work of the church is not to take sides, but to effect peace.
How can we be this kind of people?
In every chapter, Paul reveals that it can only come about by the work of God. God is the one working in us until His work is complete on the day of Jesus (1:6), working in us to will and act according to His good purpose (2:13), transforming our lowly bodies (3:21), and guarding our hearts and minds (4:7). When we yield our will to God, our lives can be changed. As long as we are determined to follow our own will, the lives remain the same.