Why We Must Unite as the Body of Christ
“I hear there are divisions among you…” (1 Corinthians 11:18) I have been hearing this over and over again in my spirit. With division ravaging the world and the Church, it comes as no surprise that God is highlighting unity. As we celebrate Pentecost, that great Jewish Festival when God sent Holy Spirit and ask Him to send another great outpouring, there is something we must remember. There is something we must face.
God did not pour out His Spirit until the 120 disciples were in “one accord.” (Acts 2:1) According to the original Greek, that phrase means they had one mind and lived in unison. They were all on the same page. They wanted to see God pour out His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who Jesus promised. (Acts 1 and John 16) For this to happen they were told to wait TOGETHER in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit was sent. You know the rest of the story! Holy Spirit showed up! He filled them with power, made them bold witnesses, and the world has never been the same.
This could not happen unless they stayed in “one accord.” If they were bickering and fighting, do you think God would have shown up? Repeatedly throughout scripture, we see a theme of victory and blessing connected to unity.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head…for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3 NKJV
There, in the place of unity, God commands the blessing. Where there is unity life is produced. Yet, where there is division there is death. We were not made to be divided or separated by anger or hate. We were created for connection, fellowship, and love.
The enemy is always trying to cause division. He has been doing it since the beginning of time. He divided heaven, taking a third of the angels with him in rebellion against God. He turned them against the Almighty because he wanted to be a god in his pride. He wanted position and authority. Then he deceived Eve by leading her to believe that God was keeping something good from her. She believed his accusations and mistrust entered her relationship with the Father. All this happened because she agreed with the Accuser. This division also infected her relationship with Adam and eventually the entire human race.
We can see this happening everywhere in our world. We can see it in our own lives. The enemy is always trying to divide us. He is always whispering in our ears accusations, mistrust, hate, judgment, offense, and criticism. He is always pointing fingers. He always speaks of the problems others create for us but offers no solutions, only reactions. Satan is called the “accuser of the brethren.” (Revelation 12:10) He accuses us to God, to ourselves, and to each other. Why? So we will never fulfill our God-given purpose. If he can keep us disconnected, angry, or afraid of each other, we will destroy ourselves. He barely has to lift a finger as we tear each other apart.
As I was reading what the Bible has to say about unity, a theme began to stick out to me – “one body….members of one another…one body…many members…one member suffers all the members suffer…you are the body of Christ and members in particular…” Rewind to March when we were taking communion every day as a church. Jesus said to do this in remembrance of Him. The juice represents his blood and the bread His body which was poured out and broken for us. Each day as I took communion I kept hearing, “Love my body, though it is broken. Love my body. Love my church.”
Loving the body of Jesus means loving his church. As believers in Jesus Christ we are members of His body, and to be at odds with another member is to be at odds with Jesus Himself. Knowing this how can we justify being divided? How can we hold onto offense, pride, or anger in our hearts? Maybe you are thinking, “Well you don’t know what they did to me. They are so frustrating and always creating problems.” Your feelings do not change God’s word. They reflect your mindset.
“But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.’… there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” (1 Corinthians 12:20-21,25)
Studying this has changed my perspective entirely. My heart wants more of God, but do I want more unity? We want to see God’s Kingdom come, but are we making sure our brothers and sisters are beside us? We have to start seeing Jesus in each other and honoring each other as if Jesus is the one sitting in front of us. Why? Because He is! We are part of His flesh and bones. To dishonor one another is to dishonor Christ.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4
We are so opinionated and offended with people that we forget that they are made in the image of God and that they are precious to Him. Each and every one of us, despite our failures, are treasured by God. This must influence our responses and attitudes toward one another. We are going to have issues with each other because of our humanity. Problems will arise but the goal must be reconciliation, not justice.
If you have a problem with your brother Matthew 18:15-17 gives clear instruction,
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
When we feel wronged or that someone is out of line, we are quick to want to put people in their place. It feels good to be right and to have the last word, yet it is not humility. Biblical confrontation is not about pointing out who the wrong party is but about reconciliation through forgiveness and humility. Do you want to be restored to your brother or do you want that person to suffer? Justice has already been served at the cross. Holding onto offense toward someone is like saying the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough. Yet, God says it is.
Sometimes we cannot be reconciled to others completely even if we forgive them because they do not want to take responsibility for their part. That does not mean we can hold onto the offense. Some divisions cannot be healed due to pride, but the point is that WE take responsibility for seeing others in love, practicing forgiveness, and walking in humility. Humility and love disarm the spirit of pride. People always expect a negative reaction when they act out. What if we responded with love and truth? What if we weren’t so concerned about how people acted but considered their pain, their struggles?
The battle is not flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12) It is time we stop seeing each other as enemies but as members of one another – the body of our Beloved Jesus. Not only do I harm Christ when I hurt my brother but I am actually damaging myself. It is time we forgive – let the offenses go and lay down our opinions of one another. It is time we ask God what He says and thinks about that person. How can we take part in their healing and freedom, Lord? How can we serve them? The battle is not personal, it is spiritual.
God wants to pour out His Spirit on the church but we must live in unison. We must have the mind of Christ – “I am here to serve you. I love you. You are a gift to the body and we are in this together.” This is not just in word, but in deed, truth, and attitude.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
It is okay to admit you were wrong. It does not mean you are a failure. To admit you are wrong does not make you a doormat, it makes you humble. If we look within our hearts we know where we can do better. I encourage you to take responsibility for your part and be at peace with all men as much as it depends on you! (Romans 12:18) Then God shall bring great revival not only in our lives but everywhere we go because we live united with each other and His Spirit!
“Repay no one evil for evil…If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21