The Call and Power of Unity

2018_NDP_proclamation (2)I had my MRI on my back today. My neurologist called this evening to talk to Debbie and me. He told me I have a severely herniated disc in my lower back. He wants me to see a surgeon as soon as possible. So continue to pray for wisdom as we move forward with an appointment this next week. At the Northern Colorado National Day of Prayer Breakfast yesterday, County Commissioner Tom Donnelly presented a “Day of Prayer” proclamation on behalf of the County Commissioners.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY... For the Kingdom of God…[is] living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” Romans 14:17-19 NLT

Yesterday was the annual National Day of Prayer.  The theme was “unity” taken from Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Many are decrying the divisions in our nation, while at the same time declaring that our strength is in our “diversity.”

That is not what God’s Word teaches us. It teaches us that strength is in unity. We can list and focus on how different we are all day long and in so many ways. That approach does not accomplish anything of value. It tends to focus our attention on ourselves. A victim mentality or a false sense of superiority dominates. Competition between individuals and groups diminishes any meaningful accomplishment.

True progress takes place when in spite of our differences, we join together in acceptance of each other and respect and seek to achieve a common goal.

We see in Psalms that it is in unity the Lord commands his blessing. (Psalm 131) Much of Paul’s letters carry themes of unity. As I read Romans 14 today, I noticed the admonition to accept others regardless of differences. Paul is saying, “don’t major on the minor issues, keep the main thing the main thing.” For Paul, the main thing was loving God, declaring the gospel and honoring each other so they could grow in God’s grace.

In 1 Corinthians 12, At the foundation of Paul’s instructions on spiritual gifts is the importance of unity. Paul’s call to accept, honor and forgive each other is to promote unity. The Corinthian church was one of the most divided, contentious groups of believers in the first century. They had their favorite spiritual leader, they valued certain gifts over others, they defended their “rights” to the point of seeking a secular resolution to matters involving the church.

Jesus told His disciples that the world would know they were His followers by the love they showed one another. Jesus prayed that His followers would be one. Unity is reflected in the Godhead and it is to be reflected in God’s people.

Unity is a fundamental principle, that is seen in human activities and endeavors. I think of the Tower of Babel. This monumental anti-God building effort was attributed to a unified effort of the people of the world. Hitler united a fractured Germany following World War I and was marching his way to world domination when the unity of the allied forces defeated his armies in World War II. A united effort resulted in landing a man on the moon in less than 10 years in the 1960’s.

The Philidelphia Eagles, victors in the 2018 Superbowl had a team mantra, “An individual makes a difference, a team makes a miracle.” In politics when there is unity great things can be accomplished for the good of a state or nation. When there is political stalemate big problems are left unsolved and often become worse.

We are constantly reminded of the differences in our world and how diverse people and groups can be and all the points of differences that exist. The true miracle is that regardless of that reality there is love, honor, acceptance, and unity. When that is present there is peace, God is pleased and great things take place. May the church be living example of this reality.