Unity   Leave a comment

“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.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  John 17:22-23, NIV

Unity.  I have yet to encounter a church that hasn’t struggled with this concept in one form or another.  One of the biggest obstacles to unity in the church is when some of God’s people feel that unity means uniformity, and particularly to their ideas and ways of thinking. 

 My wife’s home church once split over hymnals.   It was time to purchase new hymnals and a committee was formed (yes, a thoroughly Baptist church).  The committee narrowed the selections down to two, but then split as a committee as to which they liked best.  In a moment of sheer brilliance (see my tongue stretching my cheek?), they decided to present both hymnals to the church for a vote.  Naturally, there were great amounts of politicking happening in the time leading up to the vote.  A vote was held, one side won and the other side lost.  Those on the losing side were so angry about this that they decided to go start their own church so that they could purchase the hymnals of their choice.

 I don’t think I ever came to a conclusion as to whether God laughed or cried at that situation more.  I’ve done both. 

Whenever God’s people take their focus off Jesus, bad things happen.  It’s time for a new era of unity in God’s house.

 I firmly believe that uniformity is not at all what Jesus had in mind in this prayer given for the believers.  I cannot bring myself to feel that the Lord wanted (or wants) a group of people who all succumb to the loudest voice, assuming the loudest is the one most in touch with God. 

 I believe that God wants us all to turn to Him as individual believers, earnestly seeking His will.  I also believe that God wants us to turn to Him collectively as the body of Christ, earnestly seeking His will.  I believe that God can and will speak loudly and clearly when we turn to Him in faith.  Imagine what our churches, associations, state and national conventions would look like if all of God’s people decided to faithfully seek God’s guidance.  I’m seeing a rather remarkable picture! 

What is your part in all of this?  Prayer.  Add to that earnestly searching for what God is already doing around you.  The Lord is doing amazing things.  He does not desire for us all to become some sort of specialized puppets, following shallow leadership.  He wants us completely tuned in to Him and His work.

 We will never all think alike.  Thank God for that.  But we can and should be people of one mind and heart – unified in seeking God’s guidance for our lives and our church.  God’s Will shall become perfectly clear when we become unified followers of Christ.

 

Posted September 11, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Church, God's Will, Relationships

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