Unity or Division

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.               Psalm 133 (The Message)

Jesus said that a house, any kingdom, divided against itself won’t survive (Matthew 12:25). In looking at both of these passages, unity sounds like a characteristic of the presence of God. Doesn’t it?

Anyone who knows my husband and me, knows we are very different. Henry comes from a family who loves knowledge. If Jeopardy was a team sport, you might not want to go up against the Neufeld team! But they would need me and my family for the sports questions. They have learned a lot about baseball since connecting with my family. Henry likes a worship service with some good traditions and Bible teaching. I like a service that is different and free-flowing with attention to where the Holy Spirit wants to minister whether it’s through music, prayer, testimonies, or teaching or combination. Henry is a vegetarian and I have never met a chicken, cow, pig, or fish I didn’t like! Most of Henry’s clothes are black, gray, or navy. I like maroon, electric blue, and amethyst. Some might think that our differences would make for long negotiations and someone constantly “giving in”. Our relationship works because we have our #1-3 priorities in common: God, ministry, our family.

Jesus must look at what were doing to His Kingdom plan and roll His eyes or bang His head against our church walls! We have divided His plan in so many compartments that we decided were denominations. (Interesting that word is also used with money and Jesus said that we can’t serve God and money. Matthew 6:24. Hmmmm) It is when we lose sight of the goal, the salvation and discipleship of God’s children, that we become divided. It is no longer Jesus who is our leader but our own agendas and wants. The Holy Spirit pours out His gifts when we bring our attitudes to be like Jesus. We do not consider equality with Him something to be achieved but take the nature of a servant and humble ourselves and become obedient (Philippians 2:5-8). Do we come together and prayerfully ask God, “What’s next?” and then lay aside our agendas and come alongside Jesus’ plan? Or do we keep thinking up our own programs and then ask Jesus to bless them?

And when division in the Body of Believers occurs do we ask God for His wisdom and grace first or start with the accusations immediately? The Pharisees came in with the judgment and condemnation because Jesus was calling people to a deeper relationship with the Father and moving away from supporting the self-praising, destructive church that hung like a milestone around the people’s necks. Do we make decisions that will fulfill Jesus’ commission to teach disciples in all nations whether that is in our local community or across the world?

Now may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you agreement with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.

Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God.               Romans 15:5-7 (HCSB)

Unity or Division. What characterizes my life?

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