Saturday, June 9, 2012

Unity = Diversity Focused on Jesus

Recently I was pondering the subject of unity. Once we understand the purpose and power of unity, and how God responds to it, we better understand the operation of His entire Kingdom!

Unity is an incredibly powerful force. God uses unity among followers of Christ to perform His will in the earth. Unity does not take place when everyone agrees on everything. Unity is produced when folks focus on ONE thing. A good example of unity from the Old Testament is the incident of the tower of Babel. This was a unique occurrence. At this point in history all the people on the earth spoke the same language. This helped! The people of Babel decided they wanted to build a tower that reached into the heavens in order to make a name for themselves. There were many people who more than likely disagreed on many things. But they ALL agreed on ONE make a name for themselves by building a tower out of bricks that reached into the heavens. Listen to what God says about the situation in Gen 11:6, "The Lord said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them." Even though it was not God's will for these people to accomplish this project He recognized the power of unity among them. Again they ALL were focused on ONE thing. God had to confuse their language (Babel) in order to stop the project. The reason God disapproved of the project was because pride was preventing the people from spreading out and populating the earth, which was His plan. The tower of Babel incident, as negative as it was, turned out to be a positive thing because it produced the many different nations of the world. But this incident is a very good example of how powerful unity is among a group of people; and how powerful disunity can be.

Unity among Christ-followers is not when everyone agrees on everything. That is uniformity. In other words when everyone has to think alike, dress alike, act alike, speak alike, look alike this is uniformity, NOT unity. In an effort to come into unity, many churches have produced uniformity. Unity is reached when EVERYONE focuses on ONE THING. In this case of Christ-followers it is CHRIST! Unity is much more powerful than uniformity.

Unity is produced among believers when we focus first on Jesus. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the only way, life, and truth. The Bible says we are all baptized into one body (church universal) by One Spirit. What is the opposite of unity? Disunity. Disunity occurs when believers focus on personal preferences, personal interpretations of doctrine, and personal agendas over Christ. Disunity occurs when self is promoted over Jesus. The truth is we're all different. We all have different preferences and agendas. But they all must take a much lower priority than that of Jesus in our lives and in our churches. There are many things we disagree on. But if we make Jesus the extreme priority over EVERYTHING in our lives, we all are focusing on the ONE thing that really matters! That's when and where the power of unity kicks in. That is also when and where the power of the Holy Spirit shows up!

In the New Testament a group of Christ-followers were meeting for several days for the purpose of prayer. In prayer it is impossible not to focus on the One who really matters and makes the difference. The Bible says they were all in "one mind" meaning their focus was on Christ...not even their own needs. The result was that the Holy Spirit was poured out and the church was instituted. That's the same church you and I are a part of. Again, that's the power of unity. Let me encourage you to focus on the ONE thing that really matters...your relationship with Jesus. Seek Him first for His heart. He will begin to reveal the personal things you've prioritized over Christ. When you find His heart, you are connected in a more relevant way to anyone else on the planet that also has found His heart! 

Jesus said, "If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven." Unity can be very powerful among as few as only two people. But I really think Jesus was using only two as a powerful example to illustrate the multiplied power of the church in unity. What do you think? 

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