Last evening, a football player was interviewed after his winning game and admitted that he was hurt and in pain from an injury. They played a piece showing him running and he commented, “Yeah, I was running at 60%.” It looked like he was going fast to me, plus, he made a touchdown!
Then he said, “But it’s for the team. I’m hurting but it’s for the team.”
I thought about that this morning on my walk. How many of us are willing to suffer and be in pain for the sake of “the team”–the Body of Christ? How many of us are willing to be misrepresented, or misunderstood, or falsely accused for the Body of Christ? And I’m not just thinking of from unbelievers, but from our own brothers and sisters in the Lord?
If the outside world sees us as the family of Christ who are in contention with each other, then how is that representing the Lord? Are we willing to be in emotional pain for the sake of “the Team?”
The Apostle Paul writes, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:27 NASB).
I know of a couple who had every right to sue their business partners because they were wronged. But to protect the reputation of the Gospel and to follow Scripture which says not to sue, they moved and downsized to what they could afford, having lost their financial foundation. They didn’t defend themselves, but trusted God for His protection, their own reputation, and “the Team’s” reputation.
In time, they were honored by others for their suffering and the Lord orchestrated a financial bonus.
Now, I’m sure that there are times when it is appropriate and called for, for righteousness to be defended through going to court. God can lead in that way. But are we willing to suffer and be in pain in order for us to “with one mind strive for the Gospel”?
Paul continues in Philippians 1, “There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter” (29-30 The Message).