Unity is a big deal to God. According to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, he wants us Christians to ‘be one’ just as he and the Father are one. Seems like quite the task!
Getting along with other Christians isn’t always easy, but it’s vital. Jesus goes so far as to say our unity proves his legitimacy to the world (John 17).
Loving each other wasn’t some new idea Jesus concocted on his way to the cross. When asked to give the greatest commandment, Jesus gave two… or maybe, two sides of the same coin: to love God, and to love others. John tells us in 1st and 2nd John that Jesus’ call for us to love each other was nothing new, it’s what God wanted all along.
Causes of Division
But loving each other ins’t always easy. Yet it is what we are called to (John 17, 1 John 2:3-6). If this loving unity could be achieved, it would be abnormal.
That’s why the world would take notice.
A bunch of people from various cultures and subcultures, backgrounds, socioeconomic status, opinions, politics, and convictions –all getting along, working together? It would be a miracle!
Why? Because even though we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, our flesh keeps clawing for control. James tells us this:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and you do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4)
Our passions are at war, and too often we let the flesh win.[Related Post: Study the Bible to Grow in Christ-likeness]
How to Grow in Unity
James doesn’t leave us there, though. He goes on to explain that the way out is through humility. John already established that friendship with the world is enmity toward God. Then he quotes Proverbs 3:34, saying, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
How does one stop quarreling and fighting? How does one keep their passions from rising up and starting an internal war?
Submit to God. Resist the devil. Draw near to God. Humble yourself before the Lord.
Then what? Well, then God will draw near to you. The devil will flee. The Lord will exalt you.
Ways to Grow in Unity
- Submit to God. Do things his way (James 4:8)
- Resist the devil. Know biblical truth and stand on it. (James 4:8)
- Humble yourself before God. Don’t start to do things your way. (James 4:8)
- Love God more than the things, position, comfort, recognition. (Matthew 22:32)
- Live at peace with everyone, as far as it depends on you. (Romans 12:18)
- Focus on serving –not being served. Jesus served and calls us to serve. (John 13:14-15)
- Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10)
Unity is possible. Seek God, and follow his guidance.
Share your own thoughts and hints on unity in the comments below! I can’t wait to have a conversation with you about this.
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