Becoming a Christian is a bit like getting married. In marriage, two single individuals come together, and their lives become irrevocably interwoven. Likewise, when we embrace Christ in all of His love and accept the salvation He won for us at the cross, we are united with Him—and we are never the same again.
Just as the Philippians were reminded by the apostle Paul, we today can recognize the encouragement that exists as a result of our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our relationship with Him is a gift of God’s grace to us, and we can find security in the knowledge that through the power of His Spirit, He is with us everywhere we go. If you are united with Christ by faith, He is closer to you than you are to your own hands and feet. Your life is permanently interwoven with the Lord.
One of the prevailing difficulties of 21st-century life is that so many of us feel at times forlorn, bereft of companionship, and alone, even when we’re in the midst of a crowd. We may try to disguise our feelings of isolation with superficial conversation or the thin veneer of a smile, but at times we walk away from companies of people feeling desperately lost. Truly, though, Christians need not feel that despair, because we know and experience the reassurance of our union with Christ. He both knows us completely and loves us infinitely. There is great comfort in knowing this! The “comfort” Paul speaks of here isn’t just a simple, cozy feeling; the word describes something with power and attractiveness to it. It is a doing word: comfort flows out into our relationships with each other, for the Spirit unites us not only to Himself but also to one another even on this side of heaven. The more we enjoy the benefits of our union with Christ—the most precious of which is Christ Himself—the more we will grow closer to, and more deeply loving of, our brothers and sisters in faith.
Yet while such comfort blesses us, it also obligates us. Our knowledge of Christ’s mercy and compassion ought to compel us to show affection and sympathy to one another as we grow in our union with Him. It is possible for us to be hardened by life’s bumps and bruises, possible for us to lack the grace which reveals itself in tenderness, possible for us to be so taken up with ourselves that we fail to love others. How do you need encouragement or comfort today? Reflect on your union with Christ, and find them in Him. Then ask the Spirit to show you anyone who needs encouragement or comfort today, and be the means by which Christ’s comfort is brought to them.