Unity is a Classic
It’s like a ‘69 Ford Mustang or a Audrey Hepburn fashion statement. It’s like your favorite Andy Griffin episode or Elvis singing Jailhouse Rock! It’s always classy, timeless, it always fits well, and It never fades. Yet, it’s often difficult to obtain and even harder to keep. Once you have it though, you must hold to it tightly because it is special, unique, and priceless! In fact, it’s what the Kingdom of God is all about! Unity is a classic!
Still Division and Disunity Abound
It’s easy to see there is so much division in the world- between countries and leaders, between party lines and politicians. Even in local communities and small towns, division and disunity abound. (Do you need help with division? Check out these resources here!) It spreads like an unwelcome virus. Even more so division exists in our churches and between denominations- sometimes, it’s hard to see where the lines of doctrinal interpretation blur into political or cultural affiliation. Even in our own congregations, division creeps up to draw people into factions that divide you and your neighbor to keep you from oneness!
We’ve been given a higher calling
As we read John 17:20-24, we witness the prayer between Jesus and the Father and this is where we’ll discover a higher calling for our unity.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!John 17:20-24
Jesus’ Real Goal for Unity
Our unity as the Body of Christ is not simply so we can feel good about being Christians. Our purpose for unity is not only to be one with God (although if that’s all it is, it would be enough!) That’s not our full and complete purpose for unity. The real goal for our oneness and unity is so that the whole world will be drawn to Christ so that everyone knows that God loves them!
Unity is a Big Calling
This calling to be so unified, so completely one, that we draw the world to believing in Jesus, is a BIG calling! Can you imagine our unity in each local church being so strong in the community that people see it and are drawn to Christ? Wow!! That’s powerful!
I’d like to suggest 3 things we need to pursue in order to develop unity.
It’s the greatest commandment. Without it, whatever we try to do or achieve in the Name of Jesus will be a clanging gong or a loud, useless cymbal. We’ve messed this up so much! We believe what’s right, we have the right biblical messages and ideas, but we often don’t communicate it in a loving way. Do we really love the people that we’re trying to reach? Or, do we want to accomplish a task or reach a goal? We’re not always loving people like we should. We must love others if we’re going to be unified.
Letting go of pride and being humble will foster unity. Humility gently surrenders it’s need to be first and up front. Humility patiently submits to considering others before itself. This does not mean, however, that we let go of truth or we don’t stand up for our convictions. It does mean though that we pursue oneness with others even in the midst of disagreeing but we do it in such a way that honors them by not demanding our rightness. Communicating with others through humility and not through pride will go a much further in developing unity!
We must have a commitment to building relationships. As Christians, we are one Body of Christ and we are called to be the Family of God. We must remember, even when we disagree or don’t get along, that we belong to each other! That means the person across the room that you disagree with as well as the person across the country that you disagree with too! We must have a deep commitment to relationships which is vital to the development of unity.
Respond to the Call for Unity
Unity is who we are. Unity is what we do. And unity is God’s design for bringing all people into the Kingdom!
How will you respond to the call?
Think of a person with whom you don’t have unity. Ask God to give you a love for them. Do you need to forgive them?
Think of a person or a group of people with whom you disagree, ask God to help you love them like He loves them.
Do you need God to help you with humility? Do you need to pursue more relationships in your church?
Let’s pray and ask God to help us to have the kind of unity that will draw the world to Him!
Join me for a prayer zoom call where we will pray for ourselves to have this kind of love, humility, and belonging. Let’s pray for our local churches and the Body of Christ to have the kind of unity that Jesus calls us to.
Hope to see you there!