As a preschooler, I remember a book that had a picture of a fainting princess. The illustration showed her arms and legs in strange positions. My preschool mind assumed that fainting meant that your arms and legs traded places. How wrong I was!! Fainting has no ability to change the locations of your body parts. What a goof!
But what if
the different parts of our bodies rebelled and decided to leave their locations and try out different ones? Or what if they tried to leave the body altogether? That would be just as absurd as my preschool assumption about arms and legs trading places. It just doesn’t work.
Sometimes, it seems the church tries to operate that way. We separate from those who look or act differently. We try to rearrange members to fit an agenda. We focus on secondary issues instead of clinging to Jesus and modeling our lives after Him. As a result, we lack true unity, but we try to cover it up with man-made, rule-based uniformity.
Just as human bodies thrive when a diversity of cells come together in a unified purpose, so does the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12 talks about the roles each of us carry in this body. While we are given wildly different jobs, we are all empowered by ONE Spirit. The SAME God chooses how to employ all of us in different roles.
We have a unity of purpose, even though we have a diversity of roles. When we bury ourselves in Jesus, His Spirit gives us a mission and the means to carry out that mission. Because we are employed and empowered by the SAME God, we use all our different gifts for a SINGLE purpose.
Unity within diversity.
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized [immersed] into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV)
While I’m not an artist, I am a visual thinker. This diagram helps me visualize how it works. All of us who know Christ, no matter what our ethnicity, economic status, or background, have been immersed into Christ’s body. The Spirit surrounds us on the outside. As we “drink” the Spirit, He permeates every cell of our diverse body. The Holy Spirit makes us one.
We are so accustomed to seeing divisions within Christianity that it can be hard to see why unity is important. Let Jesus’ own prayer before His crucifixion answer it for us. Jesus asked His Father to bring unity to future believers…
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that…
Are you paying attention? This is what Jesus said about unity…
“…so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:22-23 (ESV)
Why is unity a big deal?
- · Because it lets the world know that God loves them.
- · Because it proves to the world that Jesus was sent to rescue us.
How do we achieve this unity?
- · Get into Christ. Seek Him with all your heart.
- · Ask the Holy Spirit to show you your role in the body of Christ.
- · Allow the Holy Spirit to empower you to fill that role.
- · Support others as they seek Christ and fill the roles that God has for them.
It will change you from the inside out.
It will make His church healthy.
It will share His love with the world.