I am sure that we all have some understanding of the importance of unity and the power that there is when people stand united. A simple, successful and long practiced military strategy is ‘divide and conquer’. Therefore, the opposite must be true. Stand united to counteract and withstand the attack of the enemy. History is full of stories describing how a minority standing together, unified as one, held off great armies and the onslaught of the enemy, to win amazing victories.
We have a glimpse of the power of unity from the story of the tower of Babel and the response from God, which it produced.
The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
Unity simply means “oneness” and this “oneness” can produce incredible power. We are one with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and with one another. The challenge for us is the practical outworking of this “oneness”.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
I have heard it said that the opposite of unity is disunity. But in my opinion it is competition that is the opposite of unity and that disunity is the result of this competition. We are not called to compete with each other. We are called to complement and enhance each other. There is an amazing and beautiful diversity within the Body of Christ. This must be celebrated!
Make my joy complete by being like- minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
We live in a competitive world with competition at every level and where differences are often used to cause division. This must not be the case within the Christian community. Even as we each with passion and energy pursue the task that the Lord has given us, we cannot treat this as a competition, but rather it must be treated as each member fulfilling their God given role.
When we stand united great power is released and consequent blessings overflows into the world. I remember years ago being involved in an outreach that brought most of the churches and Christian organizations together in a particular city. During this outreach even the crime events dramatically decreased.
Though the idea of unity is a simple one, it is a vast subject and one that cannot be fully covered in this format. So with that in mind I want to briefly share, two thought; first where unity begins and secondly some observations from Psalm 133.
Unity begins in our hearts
It starts with our own relationship and walk with the Lord.
Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
Psalms 86:11 (NKJV)
Unity must exist internally before it can be expressed externally. If we have a personal conflict within then it is going to be difficult for us to experience a real oneness with others.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
While there is division in our own heart it is much more difficult to walk in real unity with others. I could share many stories of people I have met, good people with great plans. But because they have unresolved issues, the fruit which is often produced is disunity. We need to pray as the Psalmist did:
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Unity is not about ‘my agenda’ or ‘your agenda’. It is about us discovering God’s agenda and together serving His agenda with our gifts and talents working, together as one.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As with every aspect of our Christian life and practice it is not about religious rituals, obligations and practice, but it is about taking responsibility for the condition of our own heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
The first thing the psalmist tells us is that unity is “good” and “pleasant”. When we examine the Hebrew text we find it emphasizes that unity is something which is joyous and pleasurable, and has an inference of intoxication; happy, glad and joyous as in being drunk.
We must note that the context is about dwelling together. This speaks of those who are in relationship with one another; a habitation. Though I have a certain unity with my brothers and sisters all over the world, it is those that I am in close proximity to where unity must first be evident; living in harmony with one another.
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Amos 3:3 (NKJV)
The psalmist then describes the effect of unity with two illustrations.
This “precious” anointing oil was used for priestly service. The word “precious” is the same Hebrew word as used in verse one; “good”. In other words it so joyously wonderful to live in unity!
The church needs to carry this anointing for its priestly role; a joyous kingdom of priests anointed and intoxicated with love for God, for one another and the lost.
And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father —to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
The anointing oil was known for its strong aroma and sweet fragrance, which carried far. There is a pleasant fragrance about unity.
Furthermore the anointing oil is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit; His power and authority poured out on His Body. When believers gather as one, whether as a local church or a group of churches, there is a unique corporate anointing which is made manifest and His power and glory comes down. The nearness of the Kingdom is brought about by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Dew that comes down and settles in the natural brings refreshing. It settles on the ground as a natural consequence of the right atmospheric conditions.
- Unity brings about the right spiritual atmospheric conditions for a refreshing of the Holy Spirit.
- Unified prayer rises to heaven and HIS refreshing rains down on us.
- Unity like dew effects our environment it supplies a refreshing, which causes things to grow.
The New Living Translation says it like this:
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion.
Zion speaks to us about the seat of government and authority. It is the place from where the King rules. The ultimate outcome of unity is to release blessing and life with eternal consequences. When the church walks in unity then tremendous authority is released. While we are divided we are limited in the impact we can make on society.
One in Christ
We are one in Christ therefore we must make every effort to keep that unity intact. Living together in unity requires a certain effort, but effort always produces results.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
It is important to make every effort to keep the unity of Spirit because God has put all of heaven’s resources at our disposal.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Our access to the fullness of this glorious provision comes through a united Body working as one. Unity is such a powerful thing, especially in a local church when people are committed to one another and committed to God’s plan for them.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must refrain from public displays of disunity. Every time I see a disagreement between believers posted in public or on social media I am greatly grieved. This does nothing for the cause of Christ. When the world sees us attacking each other we do not appear to be any different from them. We are called to contend for the faith, for the one true Gospel, not to be contending with one another.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
By saying that however, I am not advocating that we compromise Kingdom foundations for the sake of unity. That too would be unproductive and in the end divisive. The Kingdom of God is built on righteousness and therefore this must be the foundation on which unity is also built.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness,….
No doubt the need to discuss sound doctrine, address issues and correct unrighteousness will still arise, but this must be done with wisdom and humility and in the right place, not on social media.
Jesus prayed to the Father for our “oneness”. Therefore, let us not do any thing to keep this prayer unanswered.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Walking in love – celebrating diversity – working in unity – demonstrating His Kingdom!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.