Valuing Unity in the Body
In today's world, it seems rare to find a group of people who get along and fiercely guard their unity without the presence of a common enemy. Just take a look at any family on vacation.

Valuing Unity in the Body

9/6/16 Christian Living

In today’s world, it seems rare to find a group of people who get along and fiercely guard their unity without the presence of a common enemy. Just take a look at any family on vacation.

Unity can sometimes seem like an impossibility, the stuff of sci-fi films and young adult novels set in futuristic utopias. We like to see the imaginative portrayal of a world free of chaos, sickness, death, and war. It’s a marked contrast to our reality.

And yet, somehow, a world in which people enjoy harmonious fellowship is not just the brainchild of authors and directors, but the original idea of our Heavenly Father, a desire that Jesus prayed for toward the end of His earthly ministry.

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one. (John 17:20–22)

After the crucifixion, the Apostle Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had a similar prayer that the Church would “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height . . .” (Ephesians 3:18).

In the Bible we learn a lot about God and His plans for His Church. If it weren’t for the Word, how would we know how highly God values unity in the body?

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. . . The Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1–3)

How would we ever hope that all the division we see between denominations and cultural groups in the church body will actually come to an end?

Actually, living in one accord within the global church body may seem unlikely when we look around us at the different arguments going on within the church.

Even so, we hold fast to the Word and believe that greater is He who is in us than the chaos, confusion, hatred, and sin in this world. We know it is possible to pursue unity and peace because of the power of God within us. We live in the day-to-day reality of working in tandem with the Holy Spirit until we reach that day when we’re walking in unity as the Bride of Christ.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:17–19)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled. (Hebrews 12:14–15)

That can be challenging to do when we experience the reality of offense and unforgiveness in our own hearts toward those who have wronged and mistreated us. Basing our behavior on the Word, instead of closing ourselves off emotionally or ending relationships with other believers in order to “protect” ourselves, we can view them the way God views other members of the body and pray for them, whether they have offended us or have been offended by us. We can maintain God’s perspective of the Church He’s growing and maturing.

Let’s look again at this familiar passage of Paul’s:

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. (1 Corinthians 12:12–22)

In his wisdom, Paul likens the Church to a body, making it clear that unity under the leadership of Jesus Christ is not just a desire, but a priority in the Kingdom. Even in the midst of challenges and in an atmosphere of diversity, the Lord desires we value unity the way He does.

Unity is a God-ordained response we have as we walk in love toward one another. As we love one another as Christ loves us, we will reveal that we truly are His disciples. We will reveal a unified Church that no power on earth could bring about. We will reveal what only Jesus could do and show the world the beauty of our Savior.(John 13:34–35).

When we walk in love, we are reflections of God in the earth, able to enter into the power of unity that God has for His children.

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