Today I want to talk about unity. Unity has been on my heart for a long time now – unity for our nation, families, churches and communities, and unity with Christ. In fact, Unity: Bringing Hearts Together is the theme for our upcoming Drawing Near to God Conference next week, April 13-14 at Ashley River Baptist Church in Charleston, SC. I invite you to join me there as we worship, pray, fellowship and learn together about how we can bring our hearts together to be united with Christ and each other. We’ll hear from some fabulous breakout speakers about unity and I will also be speaking along with Myesha Chaney.
Keeping with the theme of unity, I wanted to share with you the below entry from my Drawing Near to God daily devotional, entitled “One Spirit.” I encourage you to read and reflect on who Christ is calling you to unite with today.
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.
Unity with Christ is defined by humility. As believers, if we have been united with Christ, the fruit of this union will be evident in the way we are united with others, being one in spirit and purpose and humbly serving others. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s law served to point out sin and keep the Israelites united in purpose serving God. After Jesus came and offered us salvation through the forgiveness of our sins, His Holy Spirit continued the work of uniting all believers as one with one purpose—to love the Lord and to love our neighbor as ourselves (the Great Commandment). As Ezra read the Word, the people were convicted of their sin and were transformed as they responded in obedience. As we apply the message of unity to our lives, let us keep in mind that Jesus Christ has brought us together to love, to serve, and to continue the work of advancing His kingdom.
With whom do you feel divided or conflicted? You may not agree on issues, or circumstances may be such that you cannot be in agreement, however, the Lord calls us to humbly walk with others. To love, encourage, and serve others regardless of differences perceived or real. The law of love supersedes our “right to be right” or our desire to get even. The Word teaches us that love covers a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8) Love will bring unity and purpose to our lives; love will cover our sins and draw us together. It is the most powerful force on earth.
Help me to be like-minded, having the same unity of love, being one in spirit and purpose with other believers. Help me to do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit; to look to the interest of others and value their opinion. Help me remember that Christ lives in me for the purpose of being united to share the good news of Jesus Christ and break down the walls of disunity that cause His kingdom to be divided. – In Jesus’ name, Amen