• on January 23, 2017

Missional Outpost: Unity

by Daniel Burton

We are at the conclusion of one of the most divisive elections that I can remember.  For wherever you stand politically, the idea of unity has been shattered between the two parties.  Yet this phenomenon is not limited to politics.  Millenials vs Baby Boomers.  Men vs. Women.  Conservatives vs. Liberals. Everyone seems to be blaming everyone else and the culture continues to corrode under its own weight. Unity is becoming a lost bond between people.  Yet, as we seek to be a light to the world (cf. Matthew 5:14), the Christian striving for unity reveals the nature of God in the world and brings peace wherever they go.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

– Ephesians 4:3-6, NIV

Where the body of Christ lacks unity, the image of God presented to the world is cracked.  With the Trinity being full and complete unity, any division lessens the picture of God we weave.  Furthermore, disunity severs our connection with the body of Christ and we cannot stand united with one another if we are busy sniping at the differences we face.  For a culture and even for a western church, unity speaks to allows the love of God impact our world by putting the transformation of Christ on full display.

Suspending Judgment On Others

All around me it seems like there is a constant stream of one group of people blaming another for all the problems of the world.  When we see the problems of the world around us, it is easy to seek to place the blame game, pointing the finger outward.  It seems that we move so quickly to point the finger of blame at those we disagree with while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the sins of the ones we agree with.  This is pride, plain and simple, to think that our sins are not as detrimental as those around us.

UnityUnity cannot be achieved by blaming others for all of societal problems and expecting the other side to change completely.  Pride, arrogance, and ego has no place in a discussion of unity. Before casting the stone of judgment, we must be willing to look at where we may be wrong or where we fail to see the other persons perspective.  Simply put, we must be willing to admit that we could be wrong.  God is an all knowing and all capable God.  Yet, we are not.  There are limits to our knowledge.  Admitting our limitations allows God to be God, us to be us, and gives room for freedom as we all walk through life together and fosters an atmosphere for unity.

Focus on What Brings Us Together

In order to maintain the bond of unity, our attention must be focused on the right things.  When we focus all of our attention and energy on the things that divide us, coming together becomes almost an impossibility.  Even worse, it divides the body of Christ.  The intention is that we would stand together in unity, placing the fullness of the Trinity on display.  Where the Trinity is three persons forming one God in perfect unity, we are the body of Christ, standing together in unity.

UnityChrist is not divided. We, as His body should similarly not be divided.  We are unified by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  His sacrifice is for all persons regardless of their race, creed, ethnicity, political affiliations. He died for sinners, which includes all of us.  We are all made in the image of God and we all bear witness to His love and calling in the world.  This is the basis of our unity and our coming together.  We stand unified by the bond of Jesus Christ who poured out his love on the world.

Question of the Week

What is the biggest struggle with unity among different groups that you see in the culture today?  How can we become agents of unity in Christ in our community?  Comment or email to thegospeloutpost@gmail.com

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