I’ve prayed about this whole unity thing for a while now. What does it mean? How do we get there from here? Can one person make a difference? Cause a revival of unity? and on and on the questions go; till I felt overwhelmed with the task. Thankfully God made me a big picture person. He gave me the ability to see the big picture but also see the steps necessary to achieve it. While I cannot claim to know everything that might happen or not (surprise!) I do have a connection with someone who does (Jesus). He has placed this message in my heart and given me a bold spirit to speak it. So here I am.
Unity is defined as: the state of being united or joined as a whole. It also means…an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting. I think however I like the last definition as found in Aristotle’s Poetics, which states, “each of the three dramatic principles requiring limitation of the supposed time of a drama to that occupied in acting it or to a single day ( unity of time ), use of one scene throughout ( unity of place ), and concentration on the development of a single plot ( unity of action ).”
I believe that Jesus is the perfect example of the second description; he is undivided, an example of unbroken completeness or a totality with nothing wanting. He was tempted by satan but his heart never waivered. He was resolute in his task of the cross and even though it burdened him and he cried out at Gethsemane he continued on because he knew how important it was to the big picture of a once and for all sacrifice of our sins. His act of sacrifice on the cross was complete – in totality with nothing wanting.
He is Unity – the tool he uses is Love. We as believers are supposed to be an example of him to the world. But how can we when our sinful flesh keeps us broken, lacking and divided? How can we when sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires are what causes our families within the church to crumble? How can we when greed and idolatry run rampant among his people? How can we when anger, rage, malice are our go to ways to handle disputes? How can we when slander and filthy language falls so easily from our lips?
In Colossians 3:1-17 Paul talks about putting on the New Self
1Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, the components of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. 7When you lived among them, you also used to walk in these ways. 8But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.
9Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices, 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.
12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful.
16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Paul talks a big game. I know God’s word is the truth. It is also sometimes easier said than done. I don’t know about you but for me there are days where my compassion tank is pretty low and if I try to tackle the day all at once, well; my responses could be categorized as anything but patient and gentle. I try Lord knows I do but this girl lacks and so do you. In my prayerful search of a solution God revealed this little nugget of info found right in among the words of the third description of unity. It is unity of time, place and action. It was an aha! moment for sure! (really more like glory hallelujah! with a little praise dance thrown in). Here is what God imparted to my spirit about these particular words.
It was this…What if we take each moment, each encounter, each task we set about to do and create a bit of unity during that time, where we are and using Love as the action to accomplish it? Instead of focusing on the big picture which can be overwhelming sometimes; what if we simply focus on what is right in front of us, breaking it down into more manageable parts. For example, when I cook I generally have to share the kitchen with a preteen and teen. Each with a different flair, skill and personality. Each with an opinion about how things should be done (yes, I am raising some strong-willed women). Instead of getting upset and running them out of the kitchen because they are invading my space I find for that moment (time), in that kitchen (place) and with the love of Christ (action) a way for us to work harmoniously. Using each encounter as a stepping stone to reach complete – nothing lacking – unity?
What if in that brief encounter with my girls I clothed my self as the word says in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Surely I can bear with them, forgive any complaint and put on Love while we create a bond of unity over breakfast. I know I can let the peace of Christ rule in my heart and be thankful for this short amount of time if the goal is for my family to be in unity. To be joined as a whole, unbroken and complete with nothing wanting.
So next time sister so and so (who drives you utterly bananas) asked you to be on a committee and you know it is from God to do it too. Do as Paul instructs and know that for a time, in this place and through the Love of Christ you can create a bond of unity to further the kingdom. Pastor Kelly Martin says this during his mentor moment, “What we choose to do today affects ourselves and others for eternity; be the light!”
Unity is the big picture we all want to see; Love is the action it will take to get us there.
Copyright © 2016 Melanie McKinley. All Rights Reserved.