Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Power of Unity Through Servanthood

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:4-6

A selfish or self-centered spirit is the death of unity in the church.  Even beyond that, we are told in Philippians to Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4   For the one who seeks to disagree that the fullest of life is possible in this manner, Paul points to the course of life chosen by the Savior.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5 

Romans 15 shares that the source of unity is God.  Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another…  Therefore, unity is not an act of man but a gift that comes down from our Father in heaven.  The phrase “of the same mind” translates a Greek word that means to be “likeminded.”  The New Living Translation calls it “complete harmony.”  This means that it is not merely an agreement of thought but of spirit as well.
Picture a group of people all pulling on a rope at the same time in the same direction. You could translate this, “May God give you a spirit of unity so that you will all pull together in the same direction for the Lord.”  This provides great power toward God’s purpose.  It is not that God makes everyone alike but turns their gifts toward the same end to accomplish His will.  The source of unity is God’s Spirit in the life of every believer coordinating them to God’s purpose.  Powerful!

The Acts of Unity are Understanding and Acceptance
Paul continues his discussion by sharing, Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:7  Unity means nothing unless we are willing to accept other believers.  The Greek word translated “accept” is a long word that is very picturesque.  It means to see another person and to open your arms to take that person to yourself.  It has the idea of taking someone by the hand and walking together as companions. It means to open your heart and your home to another person. 

We are to accept each other as Christ accepted us.  Christ received us as we were and then made us into His image.  Establishing relationship then allows influence.  If we cannot embrace people where they are, it will be impossible to take them to where they can be blessed.  This is a high standard, so high that we will never meet it in our own power. Only Christ himself can give us strength to accept others this way. 

Sadly, people try to gain acceptance by playing roles in church instead of being real.  Rejection of those who are not like us may cause them to don masks to gain acceptance.  People playing roles do not portray the reality of the Christian experience.  Christ has accepted all of us as and where we are and calls us to be the same.  It’s hard to run the risk of being real but worth the effort since only then can we truly be accepted and loved.

Scripture to Claim:

…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3

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