«And now, my friends, good-bye! Strive for perfection; listen to my appeals; agree with one another; live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you» (2 Corinthians 13:11, GNT).
THE MAIN FEATURE of vehicles known as «4×4» is that they have traction in all four wheels, which means that all of them can provide power to move the vehicle. They also have a special suspension that can withstand the worst irregularities of the road and the most slippery places. Having the 4×4 feature does not increase the force of the engine, but distributes it better, allowing for safer driving on all kinds of terrains and situation
Before his final greeting, the apostle Paul had a «4×4 admonition» for the church so that the church could distribute its energy better and face its journey more safely, in the most difficult situations.
Paul is repetitive about encouraging people to live a joyful life as a distinctive characteristic of believers, independently of the times that are faced or the difficulties of life. He uses a verb in the present to emphasize that joy must continue to be part of the Christian experience on a permanent basis. Below are the key four recommendations the apostle makes:
Strive for perfection: The Corinthians are asked to accept the counsel that will them to the perfecting of their lives as the body of Christ. The experience of the believer is to involve constant communion, relationship, growth, and mission.
Encourage one another (NIV): Exhort and restore one another, accompany one another. Pay attention to my exhortations to get together, encourage, pray, and comfort. Strengthen one another and show solidarity. Listen to what I have told you, and be inspired. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and comfort is the result of having God at our side.
Be of one mind (NV): Look after the same things, giving yourselves to the love and truth of the gospel and agreeing with each other. The Romans were told to strive for unity (Rom. 12:16; 15:6), while in Philippi, he begged Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony (Phil. 4:2). Paul wanted there to be a correlation between his teachings and unity, but not uniformity. The brethren had to have hearts and minds that were united in order to face the enemy.
Live in peace: Believers are to live in peace with everyone—at least, they are to do everything within their grasp to achieve that (Rom. 12:18). As with love, peace also comes from God.
Accepting and living out this 4×4 counsel allows us to journey through life more safely, even as we drive on slippery, steep, or dangerous roads; and it gives us the certainty of reaching our destination.
«Together we are stronger, we go farther, and we get there faster» (Pr. Erton Köhler).