I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
I’ve seen quite a contrast in the last week. I watch the television and see the core of our nation divided, accusing, demeaning, threatening. By contrast, last month I was in a conference where the presence of God was intense, the love for one another was tangible, and joy just busted out all over. When asked what made the conference so special, the number one answer was “unity!” (Sadly, not every church or church conference can say that.)
Three ingredients to that kind of unity:
- A common belief system. This is where the problem is in our country at present. Our founding principles are up for debate. In the church conference, nearly all the speakers and leaders had a common core of beliefs, built by study and diligence over several years together.
- A common purpose. In our nation, one group agrees with the founders that we have unalienable rights given by God, and that government is formed to protect those rights. The other group believes that rights are actually privileges that grow out of the community’s dominant belief system. The government decides what rights you have. The church conference, on the other hand, was united around the purpose: We have a great message, and we want to spread it.
- A common commitment to one another. In politics, I love you if you help my cause. Our relationship is utilitarian. In our church gathering, I love you because you are my brother or sister. We are in this together, and I am here to help you fulfill your life’s calling. Jesus said they would know us by how we love one another. (John 13:35)
It’s Sunday. You have the opportunity to be in a place where unity reigns. Find a local church where you can learn their core beliefs, then take the time to do so. Get in a place that has a passion to reach the world with the message and get involved. Make a commitment to love the ones you’re with. They may be weird, but they’re family. Unity- it’s a powerful thing, well worth the effort necessary to experience it.