Unity is a big deal to God. The Psalmist wrote, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Much later, a day before Jesus would be crucified, He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed that we would be one just as Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus prayed that we would be brought into perfect unity (John 17:20-23). Wow. It’s staggering to me that the night before Jesus was going to be crucified, what was on His mind was our unity.
How is unity even possible in the church today? We have different denominational preferences, different cultural preferences, and different political preferences. Yet, we are one body. The bride of Christ. As I’ve been thinking about this and mulling it over, my mind went to a quote I read by Francis Frangipane: “If you seek to have a heart that does not condemn, you must truly crucify the instinct to judge.” Ah, it’s so convicting, isn’t it? We judge others and find fault so easily. Yet, Jesus calls us to not judge (Matthew 7:1-4). Honestly, I believe we are never more like Satan than when we are accusing others. That’s his job, not ours. We are to have discernment about false doctrine, but even then, we are to love unconditionally. The question then is how do we build up the unity of the church in these tumultuous times? Here are just a few suggestions:
3 Attitudes to Let Go of in Order to Build Up the Unity of the Body
Let go of a faultfinding attitude. It’s easy to slip into faultfinding and seeing what’s wrong with others. However, this attitude is not from God. The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to the truth. He is capable of bringing conviction to those who belong to Jesus. I’ve never known anyone who changed their position because of being scolded. Instead, offer love and let go of a critical attitude. This may mean you need an attitude adjustment before you go to services. Don’t go into church services or small group meetings with an attitude of looking for what’s wrong. Don’t become the theological police or crusader in the group. Instead, understand how to lovingly hold your own opinions and look for the good in others.
The Pharisees were the theological police of their day and Jesus rebuked them (Matthew 23:3-5). Their theological knowledge was rooted in pride. They felt they had the corner on truth. Jesus, however, rebuked them harshly. When you see a person you’re concerned about slipping into untruth, pray and be sure you have heard the Holy Spirit before speaking to them.
Let Go of the Need to Share Your Opinion. Ah, we all have a whole host of opinions. Sometimes, we’re just dying to throw our pearl of wisdom before the group. James however, said we are to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). When you’re tempted to throw your opinion in the ring of conflict, ask the Holy Spirit to guard your tongue. Say less than you feel is necessary. Listen and pray before you say anything. Many issues are not as cut and dry as you might think. Read through the gospels and notice how Jesus interacted with people. He wasn’t quick to point out other people’s faults.
Let Go of the Need to Be the Expert. Often without us realizing it, we’re looking for some type of validation when we are in conversations. It builds up our egos to be viewed as “the expert.” Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to crucify your need to be seen as the whiz in the group. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). When the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives, these attitudes will be evident.
Friend, in many ways these are challenging days for the church. Many things have divided us. However, let’s agree to pray in union with Christ that He will bring unity to His church. You won’t agree with everyone. It’s doesn’t matter. Ask God to remove a faultfinding spirit, the need to share your opinion, and the need to be seen as the expert. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to set a guard over your mouth and to fill you with a renewed spirit of love for those around you. If we all start praying for revival and a renewed spirit of unity in the body, imagine how Christ would be exalted in the church and how the world would view us!
I am so excited to be a part of Moody’s Nourish Bible Study Summit! The summit starts July 26-30. Over 1,000 women are already registered. You don’t want to miss out. I’ll be presenting on Monday, July 26 – Turn Your Panic Into Praise. However, all week long you’ll be able to hear different Bible teachers and join in discussions online!! Don’t forget to register at https://www.moodypublisherswomen.com/nourish