Read Psalm 133
Featured Verse: Psalm 133:1
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
Unity! I am not always sure what it is, but I sure know when it ain’t!
And I know when it is. Where you have unity between people—at work, in school, at home and at church—there you will find that life is pleasant. That’s how God meant for life to be—especially for his people.
So how can we achieve and maintain unity? I think first of all it requires us to understand how important it is to God. In his final prayer before the cross, knowing what awaited him in the hours ahead, Jesus prayed for the unity of his followers in John 17:20-23,
“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. 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.”
What a person prays for in their final prayer reveals what is of utmost importance to them. For Jesus, that was our unity. The next time we have opportunity for disunity, we ought to stop and think about that.
Then it requires humility. For unity to occur, I must subjugate my desires and needs to what is good and best for others. Speaking of unity, the Apostle Paul exhorted us to follow Christ’s example when he wrote in Philippians 2:1-4,
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others…[an attitude] that was the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Furthermore, unity will be achieved when we submit ourselves to the spiritual leaders God has placed over us, whose primary task is to equip us to carry out God’s purposes on Planet Earth. And those purposes include the body of Christ being built up and coming to full unity of the Spirit. Paul taught about this in Ephesians 4:12-13,
“[Spiritual leaders are called] to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Finally, unity will have its best chance when I make unity my personal responsibility. How do I go about that? Once again, Paul hits the nail on the head in Romans 12:9-21. Take a moment to read his checklist for unity, but verse 18 encapsulates it well:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Yes, it may be difficult to define unity, but when you and I do our part to achieve it in the body of Christ, look out! Good and pleasant things will happen. Things like joy, peace, power, purpose and lasting accomplishment, just to name a few. When you get those things happening in the family of God, there’s nothing else like it in the world, which is exactly why the world sits up and takes notice of a united church. It’s like Vance Havner said,
“Snowflakes are frail, but if enough of them get together they can stop traffic.”
What do you say we stop some traffic this week!