Unity. Ahhhh yes. That 5 letter word which usually does anything but cause unity. We all want unity. We’ve all wondered how it can happen. We’ve all hit walls while trying to make it happen. So, how do we get this to work? I’ll tell you a key, it’s acceptance.
The main problem I have seen people face, including myself, when approached with an idea, event, meeting, proposition is a real lack of acceptance. Dissent may be a better word to describe what happens. I’ve seen this come up when churches are planning meetings together. The two biggest issues that come up are worship and preaching. Someone disagrees with how the other worships. Another believes the other’s theology is wrong. We’ve all heard these things and more.
So what’s the antidote?
Part of the solution, and I think the start of the solution is really accepting someone who practices faith in Christ different than you. Christians say it all the time, “Jesus hates the sin and loves the sinner.” So if something “offends me” I should practice that statement and another and not hold that offence in my heart against them! And just because I am bothered by something doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong. My goal should always be connection or unity as we call it in the church world.
Religion divides. Always. Christ unites. Always.
For a final thought on this lets look at Galatians chapter 5
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Definition of dissension: Disagreement that leads to discord.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Who are “all those who will believe in me through their word”: That’s us today!
Jesus prayed for us to be one, and then later gave His life for us to be reconciled into the family of God, We have believed that word! In his salvation grace he gave us everything we need to be one.
2 Peter 1:2-3
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
The truth is challenging to the sinful works of the flesh. The fruit of the spirit are all of the things we can use to experience oneness with each other. Oneness. Jesus Christ prayed this very specifically for you and I. It is His heartbeat for us. So the next time you would like to say, “I hope the church can one day have unity.” Or pray, “God will you just bring the church into unity?” Consider this:
Christ already gave all that is needed for unity and in fact, unity exists because of His provisions. The issue is, do I approach unity with the tools of the works of the flesh or the tools of the fruit of the Spirit?