Prayer focus: Unity.
I have to admit that writing a devotion about Unity has been a difficult subject for me because it is so multi-faceted. I want to do it justice, but how? The principle of Unity is a universal truth that exits throughout creation and is foundational to our faith in God. Our God exists as three separate persons with different roles, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, yet our God is One. In creation, the intricate parts to every planet and star have separate functions that can be isolated and observed beyond the atom, yet as each unseen part acts individually, purpose and order emerge. The human body is billions of individual cells, all with a different purpose, yet each individual carries out its function as the parts form the whole body. Science can explain the materials and isolate the parts and their individual functions in nature, but it cannot define how these things are unified to become one. Needless to say, unity is a result in everything God does and so it’s role in the lives of Christ followers must be taken seriously. We hear that true unity is only found in Christ and that unity exists in the body of Christ, but too often that is not the experience. As a body of believers, how can we prepare ourselves to be granted a spirit of unity, and what can we do to guard our church body against division?
It is important to remember that all unity begins with individual action; however these individual actions, as unique and individual as they may seem, are still carried out under a set of instructions. This means a believer can’t just act independently. Our role is given by God and only known when we are spending time with the Lord. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…..
Now remain in my love…My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you…If you obey my commands you will remain in my love.” (John, 15:5,10)
Spending individual time with the Lord is the must have if we are to know what God’s will is personally.
Obedience to God’s word to abide in Christ and love each other is key to living out God’s will. The Lord enables us to serve and fulfill our part within the body of Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, God empowers us to do things that we could have never done on our own, and the Lord redeems our natural talents, giving them purpose in God’s Kingdom and value that is no longer temporal, but eternal. When a group of Christians are abiding in Christ, serving and equipping one another in love, God builds a structure that is beautiful, eternal, and points toward Him.
Division creeps in when we stop being obedient to love and stop giving grace to others.
“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 whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity. (Col. 3:12-14)”
The human body is the simile that Paul uses to represent the Church’s unification under Christ. Imagine a healthy human body where all the parts are functioning as designed, each part coming together to form the whole. Now imaging that this body has cancer. Cancer starts with one cell that no longer follows orders to carry out it’s specific purpose. It infects the other cells around it and takes the resources meant to fuel and equip healthy cells. The same is true of unity and divisions. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are driven grace, preserving unity. Attitudes of indifference, rudeness, pride, harshness and impatience are driven by legalism and selfishness. These attitudes are cancerous in the body of Christ and cause division.
As we fast today, remember the beautiful mystery of Unity and pray that the Lord would reveal personal attitudes that are self serving. Pray for a spirit of Unity among believers that builds God’s church and points others’ to Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection. Pray that as a body we would all be quick to forgive believers who have offended us, so that division can have no place to begin.
NOTE: During the month of September 2018, we are holding a “Month of Fasting and Prayer.” Each day we are asking various members of our leadership team to share a few thoughts on that day’s prayer focus. This is one such devotional.