“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10.
We live in a culture where passions run high and people have differing viewpoints. That fact is mirrored in our news on a daily basis. Whether we are discussing politics, racism, cultures, parenting, church practices, or sports teams, there is often division and disunity.
While this is normal in society it should not be normal in the body of Christ. Unity is crucial for the sake of the Gospel. In Romans 15:5, Paul writes, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” The church body will have differences, so how is unity possible?
Jesus answered this question in His prayer for all believers shortly before His crucifixion. In John 17:20-22, He prayed, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 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. “
Our unity is not based on shared cultures, personal interests, or personal tastes, but on something much deeper and more profound. It is not what we have in common that matters, but Who we have in common. There are a thousand ways to splinter church unity and one way to bring it together again. We need to be walking the same path and headed in the same direction. Sometimes Jesus will be all that connects us, but that connection is critical and will last for eternity.
A united church is a powerful tool. Paul says we exist as a church so, “…all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6) If we’re going to be successful doing that, it’s going to take everyone making that our goal. As a church, winning is each of us making every effort to live in harmony as Jesus taught us to live, working for unity in the church, in our families, workplaces, etc.
When the world sees this kind of love and unity it is a powerful testimony to the truth of the gospel. Let us work even harder to both improve our unity by the love we show in the communities we serve. A unified church brings glory to Jesus, and when Jesus is glorified, the world will sit up and take notice.
- How important is living in harmony?
- How would you describe the power and impact of unity? When or where have you experienced that?