A Solid Foundation
Anybody who knows anything about building a structure would tell you to lay a solid foundation. Prepare the ground and lay the foundation properly and you’ll reap the benefits of a strong building that will last for years.
When it comes to building unity, maybe one of the reasons that unity in the Church is so shaky is because we’ve built our foundation on the wrongs things. We’ve laid the foundation on ideas and ideologies that have not resulted in a well built house.
Could it be that we’ve attempted to build unity on denominational organizations, doctrinal interpretations, political alliances, and cultural influences? This is nothing new. Paul instructed the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1) not to focus on which leaders they followed or who baptized them. Paul had to remind the people that the only foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) that needs to built upon is Christ. When we follow people or ideas that are not Christ-centered, we end up with something very different than what Jesus intended.
What do we have as a result?
A Church that is fractured, cracked, lopsided, and not at all what it’s supposed to look like in the world. It’s like living in the Fun House at the fair- unpredictable and unexpected.- not at all what Jesus prayed for at all in John 17! Who’s going to be drawn to that?
How can we better build a Church resulting in unity and oneness?
Here’s some building blocks to unity
“Love the Lord God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”Luke 10:27
Easy to say. Hard to do.
But, this is where unity begins. Loving your neighbor. Loving your family. Loving your church folk like family. Even loving the people that you don’t like, and even more, the ones with whom you disagree. Francis Chan says we don’t have unity because our love is too thin. We say we love someone, but when a disagreement comes up, love disappears.
When we’re powered by love, it gives us something to hold onto through disagreements and divisions.
I disagree with you right now, but because I love you, I’m going to find a way through this.
Sometimes, the feelings of love for another person just aren’t going to be there. That’s when we draw on our love for God.
Lord, because I love you and because you love them, then I will choose to love right now.
Remember, Paul said it the best- if I don’t have love, then all the awesome stuff I do is worthless!
We must love above all else!
An atmosphere of love is where belonging grows.
Belonging is the feeling that you fit in, this is your place, and these are your people.
People can feel a sense of belonging in any number of groups. That’s why young people often get sucked into gangs or the kids that are a bad influence. They make someone feel like they have a family to belong to who will protect them and make them fee at home even when they do bad things. That’s why in today’s culture, people will get drawn into a movement, a belief, or a way of thinking because they feel like they belong. If they feel accepted for who they are and what they believe, then they feel like they belong.
We Belong to Each Other
The Church is supposed to be that place where we make people feel like they belong. As Jesus Christ is our Lord and under the banner of being united through Him, we’re supposed to make others feel that belonging.
Again Paul tells us that we belong to each other because of what Christ did for us. We’re tied together under the common purpose of belonging to Christ.
When we belong to each other, that means we take care of each other through thick and thin. We don’t give up on each other. We don’t throw someone out because of a disagreement of difference of opinion. You push through it and find a way to work it out even when it’s hard because when you love someone and you belong to each other, you don’t give up on each other.
If we truly belonged to each other and loved each other the way we’re supposed to, then building a house of unity would practically build itself. But, we know this is impossible to do on our own.
The only way we can do this is through Jesus Christ. He can only do it through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Can you imagine it though?
A Church where love and belonging is so real between all the followers of Christ that people are drawn in. A place where unity flows and the oneness is so complete that God is glorified! I believe it’s possible.
Jesus prayed for this. It’s His desire for The Church, so it MUST be possible!
Are you creating an atmosphere built on love and belonging that is joined together by Christ?
Join me as we pray for The Church to develop this kind of unity. Join for a zoom call on Monday, Aug 1 at 7pm central as we gather to pray for love and belonging. Sign up here.
I hope to see you there!