Esprit de Corps

I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. ~ Philippians 1:4-5

The term, Esprit de Corps, is a French term that literally means, “The spirit of a group.” That definition, however, does little to convey what that term contains.

For instance, if you ever have opportunity to get acquainted with military veterans, and you ask them about the bond that existed in their unit, very often you’ll find that the concept of Esprit de Corps is so profound for them that they find it difficult to put into words.

One man put it this way. About his comrades he said, “They were willing to guard something [even] more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation…the memory of me. It was…the reason we were so willing to die for one another. As long as I have memory…I will think of them all every day.”

With all that in mind, take another look at the passage from Philippians chapter 1. In that passage, the apostle Paul is speaking from prison. He is speaking to his fellow believers. With great affection he speaks of what his bond with them means to him. The passage describes that bond as their “partnership in the gospel.”

stainedglasscross4The Greek word translated, “partnership,” is a solid translation. Nevertheless, the Greek word means much more than a simple working arrangement or the idea of cooperating in a common goal. In fact, the bond Paul enjoys with his fellow believers in Philippi contains elements similar to what comes to mind under the term, Esprit de Corps. Paul’s bond with his Christian brothers and sisters is profound. It is profound because of their shared experience of God rescuing them from the darkness of their sin. It is profound because of the blood from Calvary’s cross that has washed them all clean. It is profound because of the shared experience of fighting the good fight of faith.

As Christians, you and I don’t always appreciate this partnership, this bond, this Esprit de Corps we have in Jesus. That is due to our sinful weakness—a sinful weakness for which the Lord calls us to repentance. It is in his forgiveness of even this sin that the Holy Spirit refreshes our eyes of faith. He refreshes our eyes of faith to recognize the deep bond we enjoy—our bond with our Lord and our bond with each other.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, the bond I have with you and my fellow believers is beyond comprehension. Empower me by your gospel to savor it more and more. Amen.

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We are a WELS Lutheran Church located in Omaha, Nebraska, in the Millard area. We invite you to learn with us about Christ’s love and our calling. We provide child care and preschool education through Our Precious Lambs.
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