One Body

This week, I want to share what’s been on my heart about the power of unity in the body of Christ. Unity is probably something the world talks about more than the church. The catchphrase of the day is world peace and there is constant push for combined global efforts politically, economically, and socially. The problem is that when the world says unity, it means conformity.

Jesus said He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). He didn’t come to bring everyone together under a social or political banner, but to rightly divide light and darkness with the truth. We know that Jesus is our peace, but the Word of God will never conform to any ideology. It doesn’t bend, break, or change, which is why it brings division. What’s especially interesting about this is that the Word of God is the only thing that can both divide and unite. Think about it! Jesus is the Word of God, which Hebrews 4:12 tells us is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” However, Jesus is also the healing balm of Gilead. Ephesians 2:13-14 tells us that, “In Christ Jesus, [we] who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” The Word of God rightly divides so we can be purely unified.

In the body of Christ, we aren’t all the same, but we should be united. We all know the pain of one part of our body hurting (anyone ever stubbed a toe?). It doesn’t matter how small a part of our body seems; if it hurts, the whole body is aware of it. Romans 12:15 says to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” We are one body.

Paul dealt with this in the Corinthian church when they tried to divide themselves into factions under particular leaders.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 says,

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

The only way we can be united in the same mind is if we have the mind of Christ. If we are united with Jesus, we will be united with those who are also joined to Him without striving. It doesn’t mean that we’ll always agree about everything – that’s conformity. However, if we are together in our pursuit of Jesus, in agreement with His Spirit and Word, we will be “united in the same mind and judgment.”

1 Corinthians 12:18-20 reminds us that “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

God made us to be different so that we could be one! We should never try to be someone or something we’re not. How useless would the body of Christ be if we all tried to be the eye? How would we function without the hands, feet, ears, and arms? God created you for a specific purpose and only when you find your place in His body will you thrive.

Romans 12:9-21 gives us a beautiful blueprint of how we are to live and relate to one another in the body and this passage of scripture has chased me this week. It isn’t always easy but it’s the standard we live by, as we grow to be like Jesus.

Romans 12:9-21 tells us:

  • Let love be genuine.
  • Abhor (hate) what is evil.
  • Hold fast to what is good.
  • Love one another with brotherly affection.
  • Outdo one another in showing honor.
  • Don’t be slothful in zeal.
  • Be fervent in spirit.
  • Serve the Lord.
  • Rejoice in hope.
  • Be patient in tribulation.
  • Be constant in prayer.
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints.
  • Seek to show hospitality.
  • Bless those who persecute you and don’t curse them.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
  • Live in harmony with one another.
  • Don’t be haughty but associate with the lowly.
  • Never be wise in your own sight.
  • Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
  • If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
  • Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
  • If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
  • Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

It’s easy to read words on a page, but do we actually live like this day in and day out? Do we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice? Are we constant in prayer? Is our love genuine? Do we try to outdo one another in showing honor? Do we bless those who treat us badly? The call of the Christian is a lifestyle. We give up our right to respond to things the way we would want. Our flesh must die, that He would be glorified in us!

Romans 8:9-11 says,

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

As believers, we have the Spirit of the living God dwelling in us. We are part of the body of the Lord Jesus, alive to Him and dead to sin. We can live according to the word of God, according to all of the commands listed above, only by His strength and grace. As my pastor says,

“It takes willpower to live for God – our will, and His power.”

I encourage you this week to walk in the strength and unity of the body of Christ, for in the beauty of our differences, by His blood, we are one in Him!

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