Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CONNECTED IN UNITY: The Struggle for Unity


“endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)

Anything worth having demands a price to be paid.  The old exercise mantra transcends every dimension of life: “No pain; no gain.”  If you want a successful business, you must work for it.  If you want a baby, you must deliver it.  If you want to lose weight, you must discipline yourself.  If we want unity in the church, we must fight for it!

That sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it?

But unity doesn’t come without endeavor.  God wants it, and so Satan fights against it.  The Spirit is in a war with our self-centeredness, to overthrow the flesh and have a victorious fellowship.  Jesus died an indescribable death to yield this precious fruit—connecting us to God and to one another.  Shall we not invest our energies in getting and guarding unity?

It is worth fighting for—and strive for it we must!

Our world is coming apart.  The result of sin is, “We have turned, every one, to his own way.”  (Isa.53:6b).  Insisting on our own way turns us away from God’s way, and isolates us from each other.  The ultimate expression of this is, “wars and rumors of wars…nation will rise against nation” (Matt.24:6a, 7a).  The dissolution of our society is witnessed in every conceivable manner: fragmented by ethnicity, gender, age, class, politics, and on and on.

The church is to be different.  We have only one King—and one law—the law of love.  Any threat to the union of saints is to be met with a rapid and forceful response.  Our defenses cannot be relaxed for a moment.  The smallest disagreement over the most trivial of matters confined to only two church members may be the tiny virus that enters the Body and kills it!

By battling and beating strife, we maintain the bond of peace.  The peace in our church is the best advertisement for the Prince of Peace, Who claims our absolute allegiance. 

In a war-weary world, there will be sinners seeking some solace.  Too often they turn to drugs, drink or some other means to numb the pain.  That is only a temporary relief—and in the end only produces more heartache.

What if instead we offered an oasis of peace in a desert of divisiveness?  What if our church were a refuge of harmony in this hate-filled environment?  Perhaps the empty pews that too often result from brothers and sisters wickedly warring against one another would be filled with those seeking the peace that Jesus brings.  It’s worth fighting for!

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