Unity – the Necessary Element
Mandisa, a contemporary Christian composer and artist sings these words: We all bleed the same. We're more beautiful when we come together. We all bleed the same. So tell me why, tell me why We're divided? If we're gonna fight, Let's fight for each other. If we're gonna shout, Let love be the cry. We all bleed the same. So tell me why, tell me why we’re divided?
Paul had some instructions he gave to the troubled Corinthian church as recorded in Ch.12 of his letter. It is a beautiful description of the “body of Christ” and the unity characteristic of it.
“For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and we were all given One Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,’ it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts of the body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are may parts, but one body… Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it.” - 1 Corinthians 12:12-20, 27
Although many teachers use this passage in reference to the use and uniqueness of the different spiritual gifts, the main purpose is to shows the working of the body together in unity.
In the same context, Paul discusses what would take place if one of the members were sick or missing. The greatest threat to the church – the body of Christ, does not come from the outside, but rather from the inside. When one part of the body is sick, then the body itself is unheathy. The body cannot perform as it was created to do. Disunity and unhealthy habits and practices will cripple the body’s effectiveness and productivity.
In the early church, the members were “together” and they were together often and consistently. I realize that in West Texas, Texans have this sense of independence – even West Texas believers. This could possibly explain why hundreds of West Texas churches are closing their doors every year. There is no such thing as “lone ranger” Christians! While we might like to be isolated and independent, Scripture teaches the opposite. In fact, Proverb 18:1 says, “Those who isolate themselves, seek their own desires…” Since we were created for relationships, believers should be proactive in seeking relationships especially with the lost. Jesus left the 99 sheep and sought after the one which got away.
In the book of Acts, Luke clearly describes the church “being together” many times. This togetherness was not exclusively worship. In fact, the early church had no building. They met in people’s homes or wherever they could gather. And they did so for prayer, singing, fellowship, strength, courage, giving, helping, etc. The early church “moved” spiritually as a physical body which is healthy moves.
My prayer over the next several months is unity over separation. It is truth over assumptions. The body of Christ must be one, if it is to be effective in its witness for Jesus Christ. As Mandisa stated in her song – Let’s fight for each other!
Praying for Unity!