If you have n’t read Part 1 of this series, to that first: click here.
After you’ve done that you might want to check out this interesting post about corporate times of praise/worship — funny, we all use different words to describe this time we share together glorifying God, singing songs, etc…. and there are actually 9 “worship words” in the Hebrew/Greek texts of the Bible — anyhow, he doesn’t do an in-depth exposition on all the words, but hits the heart of the matter. I think you’ll enjoy.
Ok, so Part 2. I couldn’t wait to post more. My first post was so general on Unity. And there’s so much more bubbling in me!
One of the main reasons efforts at “unity” among Christians fail: making “unity” the goal.
That seems strange, right? If you want to accomplish something, like becoming more “unified”, you set your sights on how you can make THAT thing happen, right? Right. Well, in most cases that is true in life. But, I don’t think it works here.
They say that nothing can bring “unity” among a group of people better than a common “enemy”. This is how armed forces become such tight units, caring for one another, willing to sacrifice life and limb for one another. It’s because they’re not focused on each other, and making sure the group is “ok” or safe. There is a HIGHER purpose, a goal outside of themselves, a calling to fulfill destiny for many. A common cause brings a common bond. And not just agreeing to the common cause, but a heart and soul dedication to that cause — willingness to sacrifice self for the greater good. In an army, laying your life down is for the greater good, and you do it willingly because it’s what you signed up for; you wanted to be a part of winning the “war”, squelching evil and protecting the greater good for all of mankind (more or less; I’m trying to generalize the mindset here — you get it, right?).
In the call of our destiny to become One in Jesus, it will be because we are committed to a higher call, a greater good, and so dedicated to it that our lives are willingly laid down. What is the greater good, then?
Is it that we would “get along” and like each other? Or, is it that we could do activities together and say that we did this thing with that group that’s “different” than us? Is it just a tacit agreement that “well, we’re Christians, so we’re supposed to be on the same team”.
I say no.
The higher calling is the glory of God. That God Himself and His Son Jesus would receive honor and praise from more people and that His Kingdom would come more fully on Earth as it is in Heaven. For this we are willing to lay our lives down, give up comfort, honor, pride, personal preferences, etc. We love Him and He is worthy of it all and more. That is the call that will truly unify us and cause us to love one another and humble ourselves and say “you’re better than me”, “your life and welfare is more important to me than my own”.
So, why does is not seem to work when different groups try to “unify”. Well, in my opinion, it’s because we look to ourselves and to each other. We seek unity, not God and His high calling. And, we end up factoring everything down to the lowest common denominator, i.e. “well, what are the basics that we can agree on, so nobody gets offended?” What does this approach produce? A lukewarm, “dumbed-down” cause with no passion, no teeth, no bite, no power. It is self-protecting instead of sacrificial; it covets comfort instead of victory and battles won. Istead of looking down, to the “basics”, we should look up to the higher calling and let it call us UPWARD.
In the process, we will all be challenged — not to require less of one another, but MORE of ourselves– to give more, to humble ourselves, serve those around us and be obedient in love (to the One who loved us), even to death. that is, I might have to die to what I “like”, my personal preferences, my position of power, my “vision”, etc.
Why would I want to do that? Because Jesus did that for me, and I’m madly in love with Him.