August 1, 2019 | by: Chris Kiiskinen | 0 comments
Unity is a blessing from the Lord! It reads... Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
In these 3 verses, there is much to see. As David writes, he packs so much into a few verses that say so much. Allow me to share with you several points that I think we can glean from what he says to us.
Unity...is good. We all know this is true, don’t we? When we are united in even a small group like our family, division can bring all sorts of problems. But if a family is unified, together they can bring good results from even the most difficult circumstances.
Unity...is pleasant. With goodness, unity will be pleasing to all who experience it. Unlike division, which usually leads to many sinful responses such as anger, fear or hatred.
Unity...is precious. Like when someone might find a valuable jewel, unity is a precious commodity that can sometimes be hard to find. We might often experience unity and not even appreciate it, until it’s gone, that is.
Unity...starts at the head. Unity is something that will start in our head, in how we think. As I often remind our students, the way we think, affects the way we act. If we are thinking about moving towards unity rather than division, that should affect how we are interacting with others.
Unity...spreads. In connection with the last point, as we set ourselves to seek unity, we will normally find that we start seeing it in more and more places.
Unity...is essential. Imagine if we had no unity! Anywhere! The world would be in chaos in every place. Even those who would mock God understand the importance of having at least some unity with others. Division destroys and tears down, but unity brings together and builds up.
Unity...is refreshing. When we experience the blessings of unity, it will often bring a sense of refreshment, rest and peace that is never known when disunity is present. Division, on the other hand, will bring tension, unrest and even things like resentment.
Unity...is something we will experience perfectly in Heaven! We will never know a perfect unity here on earth, but Jesus prayed in John 17 that believers may all be one, just as he and the Father are One. There is a day coming when we will know perfect unity with no more sin ever getting in the way to distract and divide. I hope that you are looking forward to and longing for that day! I know I am!
But for now, unity is sometimes hard to find. At times, even impossible. Simply looking around the world and seeing what is going on shows us how unity is so difficult to achieve.
Disunity is a product of sin. Always. Even when people may disagree on a certain subject, they can still experience unity, despite their differences. But when sin is involved, it can breed disunity even among Christians who agree about the Gospel being the most important truth to be united around. Knowing this can help us strive to maintain the unity that we have in Christ, which is exactly what God commanded us to do through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 4:3).
As Christians, we should always be working towards seeking to maintain not just what Jesus commands us (to maintain the unity we already have in him), but to long for what he prayed for! So if we are to grow in our unity with one another, here are three things that are required for us to experience true, biblical unity:
Part of his purpose is to unite all things (Eph. 1:3) and so to know biblical unity, one must know Jesus as a foundation. It starts with being united to and with him. There cannot be a full and biblical unity without Christ as our foundation.
In 1 Peter 3:8, Peter commands us to have unity of mind and brotherly love. Since love looks out for another person’s needs, love is a strong component of achieving and maintaining biblical unity.
Paul connects love and truth together in Ephesians 4:15 when he says that we are to “speak the truth in love” so that we can all grow up into Christ. So truth is also an important component when it comes to biblical unity. Imagine what it would be like to try and achieve any kind of unity without having a basis for knowing truth.
In Philippians 2, Paul teaches us to have the mind of Christ, or think like him. Part of how we do this is by putting the needs of others ahead of ourselves, displaying humility and a submissive spirit. These two things are taught in many places in the scriptures and should be the mark of every Christian. Too often though, we may find ourselves being selectively submissive and not subjecting ourselves to all those that we should.
For example, Scripture calls us to submit to all authorities (including governments), our spiritual leaders, mutually to one another and ultimately to God and His word. But we may find ourselves sometimes choosing some of those to submit to, but not others that we may not like as much. This could be a mark of sin in us that ought to be examined to see why we are acting that way.
To be sure, there are other components of our Christian lives that also have a bearing on our unity, but I think these 3 are some of the most needed. In our culture today, I see many thoughts, ideas, direct teachings and sometimes even laws that the enemy can and does use to cause Christians to be sidetracked, taking their eyes off of Christ and the Gospel. I’m seeing this result in quite a bit of division in God’s Church, His people.
Whether it’s over politics, social issues, vaccinations, points of preference, etc. There are so many things that the enemy can use to divide us. Our Lord and Savior commands us to strive to maintain what he purchased for us on the cross. I encourage you to take that seriously and find the blessedness that comes when we find brothers dwelling together in unity!
Chris Kiiskinen is a Pastor at Grace Bible Church
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