“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.”
The tension between Euodia and Syntyche started with a quarrel and ended with a feud. It divided the church. Some folks thought Syntyche was right, and others thought Euodia was right. They were probably both right to some extent. There was considerable misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and ill will. An unhappy church is a discouraged church. In such a church, there is little spiritual enthusiasm.
“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche”
Paul gave a separate exhortation to each individual. Note the repetition of the word “implore.” This serves to single out each culprit causing the ruckus in the church at Philippi. He was careful not to take sides in the conflict.
“to be of the same mind in the Lord”
The word “same” occurs in 2:2, where Paul presented a powerful challenge to unity. In chapter two, examples of oneness of attitude are seen in Christ, Timothy, Epaphroditus, and Paul himself.
The words “be of the same mind” are not a challenge to reconciliation. If he had done that, they would have wondered who was to take the initiative. They might have wondered who was to be blamed for the mess. Instead, he challenged them to be of the “same mind.” They were to think the same thing. They were to arrive at a mutual understanding. The word is in the present tense—maintain that mutual understanding.
Their conflict was rooted in attitudes. The solution is found in correct attitudes. A conflict starts with our attitude, not with what someone says about us. People may say all kinds of things about us. They may tell lies about us. They might say unkind things about us, but there will never be conflict unless we change our attitude.
This is not a raw mutual understanding. The phrase “in the Lord” points out the sphere where harmony exists. It also implies that their disagreement was not “in the Lord.” Our attitude should be like the Lord’s when it comes to assaults on our person. An attitude is a habit of thought based on how the Lord would have us react to the situation.
An unhappy church is a discouraged church. The church in Philippi was discouraged. Everyone was down in the mouth. Everyone was negative. Each person aligned himself with either Euodia or Syntyche. All conversations centered on the controversy. All you heard was, “Who do you think is right? What side are you on?” At one time, God harnessed them for effective ministry. Now they sat benched by the Divine Coach.
It takes a positive attitude to fix a negative attitude.
The Christian context takes more than an attitude; it takes an attitude oriented around the Lord. God will use people with half the ability and giftedness we have if we hold negative mental attitudes toward fellow Christians. If there is a spirit of discord and friction, He will pull us out of effective ministry. He will put us back into the game as soon as our attitude changes. The Holy Spirit cannot work in an atmosphere of bitterness. Do you have a grudge toward someone? God cannot use us with a grudge in our hearts. If we carry antagonism in our souls, we hurt the cause of Christ.
A biblical attitude can develop only by steeping ourselves in the Word of God. When we do that, we orient to God’s viewpoint on life. Therefore, we should constantly expose ourselves to God’s Word so we can develop God’s attitudes toward life. That is the basis of all conduct.