Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Unity of the Faith

Hello, gentle readers...

Yesterday, I was reading a small devotional and the topic was UNITY. It seems to me that, in our society, we have made a practice of focusing on diversty over the past couple of decades. Now, sociologically speaking, that is a good thing. We all need to become more tolerant of others. However, if we fail to focus on UNITY, I fear we have done nothing but create gaps of understanding, factions, and schisms.

For example, we all belong to different churches or denominations. There may be a wide range of opinions on doctrine. Some believe in tongues. Some do not. Some believe in baptism by immersion only. Some do not. Some believe Jesus was God. Some believe he was the son of God. Some believe that glbtq people are part of the community of believers. Some don't.

Regardless of our doctrinal belief, there is one thing that God calls us to believe:

Jn 3:16 is so familiar. We can all quote it. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

WHOSOEVER. There are no qualifiers except belief in Jesus as the Son of God, the sacrifice for our sins.

Rom 10:9 says "If you confess with you mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

There is nothing in any of these verses that says we must agree on DOCTRINE! UNITY isn't based on doctrine. UNITY is based in belief in Jesus. Oh, you may say that you cannot be in UNITY with someone whom you feel is wrong doctrinally. What about those gay people? What about those crazy charismatics? What about those Catholics? What about those Baptists? It's irrelevant, people. Totally irrelevant. God wants UNITY.

Rom 5:13-14 says, "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of UNITY among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 4:3 says, "Make every effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

UNITY is very important to God. UNITY is shown in the way we treat each other. UNITY comes from having a peaceful spirit before the Lord and love for others. We don't have to always agree. As long as there has been humankind on earth, there has been disagreement. But, disagreement doesn't have to break UNITY.

We wonder why we don't see miracles in our lives, our churches. It is a lack of UNITY. We come with all kinds of agendas and personal junk that doesn't create UNITY in our families, our churches, our communities. When we live in peace and UNITY, the enemy is terrified. Great things are done for God out of the UNITY of believers.

I would encourage you today to focus on UNITY. Focus on those things that would divide you and place them at the foot of the cross. Walk away and don't grab them as you turn from them. Determine in your heart and spirit, to live in UNITY with others. You will not only find that life is more pleasant, but is filled with the power of Almighty God. Imagine the power of the unified Church, together as one, overcoming the evil in this world. Amazing, isn't it?

May God richly bless you this day and may you reach outside yourself to create unity in our world.


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