Day 31: Good luck and success

A LoveSingapore 40.Day prayer and fast devotional, following 2022's theme of To Live Is Christ: A Journey Through the Book of Philippians.

LoveSingapore // July 31, 2022, 12:01 am

40 Day 2022-31

Bible reading for 40.DAY 2022 |  Philippians 4:1—3

“Good luck” and “Success” are at loggerheads. And that makes for a bleak future.

Philippians 4:1-3 embodies the twin themes of this letter. One, Steadfastness: Stand firm in the face of opposition. Two, Unity: Be of the same mind in the Lord.

In this regard, the Philippian Church is in double trouble. On the one hand, they are losing their nerve in the face of opposition. On the other hand, there are internal cross-currents of posturing and quarrelling.

Paul knows churches. He planted and nurtured them for 10 years. He can see when a shipwreck is coming. He’s been in one. The Church in Philippi is taking in water.

So now, near the end of this letter, Paul addresses a specific case of disunity that needs intensive spiritual care. Madam Good Luck and Madam Success are quarrelling. These are their names in English, roughly (Gordon Fee).

In Greek they are Syntyche and Euodia.

These are two founding mothers and leaders of the church. Their names are in the Book of Life. But down here, they can’t get along.

The fact that Paul names them shows the seriousness of the problem and the depth of the friendship and trust between him and them.

Gender has nothing to do with it. He puts them on equal footing with Clement and the rest of his fellow workers in the Gospel. He entreats each of them individually and by name to be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:3).

Unity is not uniformity, but conformity to the Gospel in the Lord.

Spiritual unity is possible only in the Gospel and in the Lord (Philippians 4:3). This is the double cure for division.

Unity is not uniformity, but conformity to the Gospel in the Lord. We will always have disagreements. But if we humble ourselves and subordinate our personal opinions and agenda to the larger agenda of the Gospel, we can be one “in the Lord” (Gordon Fee).

Paul appeals to his true yoke-fellow to help these women. “Yoke-fellow” is not a name, but another word for “fellow worker”.

We can only guess who this fellow is. It’s not Timothy or Epaphroditus because they are not on-site yet (Philippians 2:19, 25).

Our best guess is Paul’s co-missionary, Luke. He was there when they planted the Church in Philippi and apparently stayed on for a while. He also survived one shipwreck with Paul. Perhaps he can avert another one.

Pray Now

1 Watch and pray. The pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on our pastors. Do they want their churches to thrive, not just survive? Of course.

God sees it. God knows the inside story. Cry to God for mercy!

But it’s been much tougher than expected for many. Conflicting views on how to do church in the new normal have strained relationships. Add to that the stress from conspiracy theories floating around and the hot issue of 377A.

Leadership conflict is on the increase. God sees it. God knows the inside story in every case. Cry to God for mercy!

  • Pray that none of our leaders privy to internal conflicts will walk away saying it’s none of their business. That all concerned will realise that the only thing necessary for demonic division to spread and spiral out of control is for those-in-the-know to do nothing about it.
  • Pray for God’s appointed person of peace to intervene. Not taking sides or shaming the quarrellers by leaking juicy details. Not manipulating their emotions or rushing the process at the expense of truth. But, as a true yoke-fellow, mediating wisdom from above. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight (Proverbs 9:10). The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17-18).
  • Pray that in every case, those who don’t see eye to eye will recognise that they have much more to lose than to gain by quarrelling. And that they have infinitely more in common than the things that divide them: They serve one Lord. They believe one Gospel. They recite the same Creeds. And their names are in the Book of Life!
  • Pray that all will humble themselves and agree on matters that truly matter: the Gospel, the Word of God, the glory of Christ, the good of the church, the beauty of holiness, the ugliness of sin, the satisfaction of Christ (DA Carson). May we all model this cardinal value of Christian peacemakers: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity” (Rupertus Meldenius).

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” – Rupertus Meldenius

2 Watch and pray. Satan is all out to divide and destroy our churches from within, one quarrel at a time. Can you see his dirty tricks behind every squabble? Will you resist his arsenal of half-truths and exaggerations calculated to sour and ruin relationships? Will you de-escalate the conflict by going in the opposite spirit?

At home, in church, at work, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:8). Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19). Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT).

3 Watch and pray. May our message and ministry of reconciliation become “a beautiful model to imitate, a masterclass in conflict resolution” (Marshall Segal)pointing Singapore to the one and only Prince of Peace!

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About the author


Founded in 1995, LoveSingapore is a unity movement motivated by love, fuelled by prayer, and inspired by a common vision: God's greatest glory seen through a life changed, a church revived, a nation transformed, and a world evangelised.