“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same [tuning] fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow” (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God).
Daily Fellowship in the Early Church
Acts 2:46-47 describes the early Christian church: “Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Can you imagine what it must have been like? What a fellowship they must have had! What a connection within the body of Christ! Every single day they got together to worship, fellowship and grow together. Is it any wonder that people were being saved every day?
This is such a far cry from many churches where the vast majority of believers only get together on Sundays. Even the “faithful few” are adding one, maybe two extra days to serve alongside their fellow believers.
Unity Means Being Vulnerable
I understand why some Christians like it the way it is. They come and go, barely rubbing shoulders with anyone and keeping their lives at a distance. After all, it’s a very vulnerable thing to invest time, energy, and emotions into others. It means showing who we really are. It means putting others first and not getting our own way.
It takes work. When you consider how much conflict we read of in the New Testament, it might not seem worth it. So many believers choose rather to wander through life doing their own thing and not getting involved in a local church.
Unity Opens Ourselves up to Pain
I can also hear some saying, “You don’t know what I’ve been through and the hurt that those people in my church have caused me.” Yes we get hurt by others. Yes we find ourselves having to deal with pain when friends fail us. There is no way to avoid it. Why? Because I know that I am also going to fail others and cause hurt.
No matter how careful we are, not a single one of us will always be able to avoid offending others. At times we say the wrong things, we have the wrong attitudes, and our actions fall short of building others up. So it only makes sense that since we hurt others that others will hurt us. Often it’s not intentional, but it still happens.
Unity Takes Effort
I’ve been reminded recently from Ephesians 4 that to have unity takes a lot of effort. It won’t be an easy road, but it is entirely worth it! It is also what the Lord has called us to. And anything He calls us to will have great reward when it is achieved.
Can it be done? Yes! Unity is not some mystical vapor that vanishes the moment we reach out for it. Christ, the head of the church, has equipped His people with tools (gifts) that when used for His glory help to build up and strengthen the body. It can be done!
Unity Requires Willingness
The question is whether or not we are willing to put in our part and do all we can to reach and maintain unity with our fellow believers. Or are we going to take the easy road and expect others to serve us? Selfishness has no place in a unified church.
It’s tiring to always serve and build up others especially when we don’t often see anything in return. But I’m encouraged by Paul when he said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Unity can only be achieved in the strength of Christ. In our own strength we fail.
Unity Must Start With Me!
Is there strife and division in your local church? Are you the problem? It’s very possible you are. Only an emptying of selfish personal ambitions and desires can start the process of healing and unity. May we all come to that place where we go before the Lord in humble submission and commit ourselves to unity, no matter the cost.
It’s time we got to work and started building His church. And it starts inside our own hearts.
—Crawford Paul, used with permission from an article on assemblyhub.com