Occasionally I find the Lord puts specific verses in front of me throughout a season of my life. Maybe I am just heightened to that specific idea in the Bible sections that I'm reading. This week it seems like all I have been reading has been about unity. Unity of Christian brothers, unity of the Trinity. Seems like everywhere I turn in my private devotional time as well as in preparation for teaching, God has been clear of the need for unity among believers.
This isn't a surprising idea. Unity is not countercultural or given a negative societal connotation like many Biblical ideas. We all know the necessity and benefit of unity of like-minded individuals. Championship teams, for instance, are those that are united around the same goal. Successful businesses are those that are united around the same purpose and goals. Successful churches are those united with the same vision for the proclamation of the glory of God. The running trend here is that unity is a prerequisite for group success.
Psalm 133:1 managed to find its way into my Bible reading for this week. It states, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Furthermore, as I read Jesus' prayer for his disciples and for future believers in John 17, His prayer is that we may be one as He is one with the Father. His prayer is for unity of what will be a new, persecuted church. I also started First Thessalonians this morning. One of the commendations that Paul gives to the church at Thessalonica is that they, together, proclaim the Gospel to the regions around them. There is no need to question whether they understand or desire the Gospel. Their reputation of being a Gospel-believing church is well known throughout the surrounding regions of Asia. It is their unity around the Gospel that makes this reputation true.
God calls us to unity. The Gospel mandates unity. The Cross creates opportunity for unity. We, as believers, have a responsibility to be united around the Gospel for the glory of God and the proclamation of God's great name. The reality is, however, that often Christians find themselves bickering and complaining about each other and about their circumstances. Unfortunately, we are not necessarily known for our unity, but instead for our disagreements and lack of love for one another. If there were ever a group of people called to be set apart and distinguished by their unity, Christians are it. Unity is displayed all throughout Scripture and our duty to be united is far more prevalent than I think we want to remember. Our model is clearly shown in the Gospel of John as Jesus repeatedly states that He, the Father and the Spirit are one. As Jesus prepares for the cross, His dependency on that unity is remarkable.
Do you have a grudge that you're holding against another fellow believer? Is a disagreement preventing unity? Consider God's calling for unity. Especially remember that success only thrives in an environment where unity is present, whether that be success of your company or successfully proclaiming the Gospel with your church.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”