Striving Together

Striving Together- An IDC Blog

By Kent Bass


Welcome brothers and sisters of Imago Dei Church! I’m happy you’re reading this. I know many things vie for your attention. Work, school, spouse, kids, social media, and household chores are probably a small sample of all of the planets orbiting in your universe. While none of those things are inherently bad, any one of them can pull our attention and focus off of thinking deeply about Jesus. Ultimately, your pursuit of loving Christ is why we have started this blog. We know following Jesus is hard. Loving your spouse and children is hard. Loving your neighbor as yourself is hard. Making disciples is hard. Practicing hospitality is hard. Serving needy people is hard. Bearing the burdens of others is hard. However, one of the many great things about the gospel is that we don’t have to do any of these hard things alone. God has given us his word, his Spirit, and his people to equip us for a life of faithfulness.


We want this blog to serve as a regular reminder that you are not following Jesus alone. The gospel creates community. In fact, our “togetherness” is essential for a life worthy of the gospel. Here is what Paul says to the church at Philippi: 

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (Phil. 1:27-30).

According to Paul, one of the marks of a life worthy of the gospel is togetherness. “Standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for faith in the gospel.” When you read this blog, we want you to remember that your brothers and sisters are striving together with you. Striving with you in your sins and failures. Striving with you in grief. Striving with you in despair and depression. Striving with you in fear and anxiety. Striving with you in broken relationships. Striving with you in chronic pain. Striving with you in evangelism. Striving with you in parenting. Striving with you in spiritual warfare.


Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “I’m not really striving with anyone.” Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “It doesn’t really feel like anyone is striving with me.” If either one of those realities are true, then let me encourage you to press in. Engage the members of your growth group or a pastor. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to figure out that you aren’t ok. Striving requires intentionality, so be intentional. 


As you are seeking to strive with others for a life that is worthy of the gospel, let me offer three encouragements.


Encouragement #1- You Can Do This!


Brothers and sisters, God has not called you to a life that you are unable to live. He has graciously given you “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). You have his living and active word (Hebrews 4:12). This word is profitable for you; it makes you complete and equips you for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). You have his Spirit, whom God has given to you as a guarantee of your salvation in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Spirit empowers you to understand the very mind and will of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)! Additionally, you have God’s people, a family of brothers and sisters given to you to encourage you as you faithfully follow Christ. This leads to the second encouragement…


Encouragement #2- We Can Do This!


Isn’t it amazing that we get to follow Jesus together? What a gift! So, let’s live this life of faith together. Let’s grow together (Ephesians 4:1-16). Let’s hurt together (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). Let’s rejoice together (Romans 12:15). Let’s love God together (Colossians 3:12-17). Let’s strive for faith together (Philippians 1:27). You are not supposed to do this alone. The God who lives in perfect heavenly community (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has called us into community with others. One of the ways we live out the imago dei is through relational engagement with other believers. I know our community isn’t perfect. Imago Dei isn’t a perfect church. I’m not a perfect pastor. But don’t let your differences or the sins of your brothers and sisters push you away. Let’s strive together. Let’s be eager to maintain unity and peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). We need help to do this, and that leads me to my third encouragement…



Encouragement #3- God Will Do This!


We don’t serve a god of fragile hopes. We serve the Lord God, who reigns supreme. We serve the God who is doing all the things he has promised us he will do. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Paul continues this line of thinking in chapter two of Philippians, encouraging the believers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Why? Because “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).


Brothers and sisters, God will do this. In light of what God is doing in our midst, let’s strive together for faith. As you read these blogs, we hope you will be encouraged to follow Jesus with your family of faith here at IDC. Let’s be worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ together. Let’s grow up into Christ together. He who calls us is faithful; he will surely do it.


Kent is a native of southern Illinois and a graduate of the University of Illinois. He holds an MA in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He met his wife Hope at a Christian sports camp in Pennsylvania in 2007. They got married in 2010 and have three kids: Silas, Anna, and Grace. He is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and loves talking about the intricacies of the golf swing. As a pastor, he loves having a front-row seat to watch how Jesus transforms people’s lives.

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