Happy unity day!
Until this morning, I didn’t even know there was such a day on the calendar. Apparently there is, and I think it’s neat. I, for one, can always stand to be reminded of the importance of unity.
Actually, the topic of unity has been on my heart a lot lately. So much division exists in our world today. The absence of unity invites a tidal wave of anxiety, hatred and abandonment. Those in need are suddenly left desperate. Families split, friends turn away, and businesses fall apart.
Not even the Church is exempt. It breaks my heart to witness the division of so many congregations, and especially the body of Christ as a whole. It doesn’t take much for a splinter of strife to become a chasm of division.
And that’s just not how it’s meant to be. I think we all know this. In some way, at some point, we all recognize that anxiety, hatred, and abandonment don’t – or shouldn’t – have any place in the Church.
Jesus so desires unity among believers that He prayed for it just hours before His betrayal and death on the cross. His heartfelt and moving prayer can be found in John 17:20-26. In those verses, He prayed for us. You and me. Right now. Today. Even in the midst of what would be the most excruciating time of His human life, He thought of us, prayed for us, and anticipated that we would need to stand united in the trials of this life.
Unity matters. Does that mean we all need to agree on every little thing? Absolutely not. There’s beauty in differences and varied personal opinions. God created each of us unique, and He enjoys our diversity.
But there’s a big difference between diversity and division.
God doesn’t want us to conform to each other, but to Him. He wants us to seek His will and His voice in our lives. When we do that, the biggest, most important and crucial things we need to believe will fall into place. No amount of trying to force people to agree with you will result in unity. Unity comes from shared stances of the heart.
My favorite explanation of this comes from A. W. Tozer:
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same 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. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.”
It’s okay if someone doesn’t agree with your every opinion. We’re not meant to be carbon copies of one another. As long as each person has their heart, soul, and mind fixed on God, set on seeking His will and glorifying Him, the rest will fall into place. We can stand united as we seek to represent Christ in this struggling and broken world.
Is it easy? Not at all. Is it worth it? More than anything else.
Incredible things happen when people are united. The hungry are fed, the homeless are housed, and the sick are cared for. Money is raised, schools are filled and run, and churches shine as beacons. Lives are changed forever.
One star – as beautiful and bright as it is – won’t light up the night sky on its own. But a universe full of them? That’s where the breathtaking beauty lies. When believers stand together, we shine brighter than any stars. And when Jesus reigns in our hearts, so reigns unity in our lives.
It’s along these lines that I’m blessed to announce that my up and coming novel Cabin Girl (which now has a cover!) has been featured on Stepping Stones Book Reviews blog. A fellow author and believer, the blogger, JadeSky, chose to feature Cabin Girl on her ‘Can’t-Wait Wednesday’ post, and I’m thrilled to be able to share that post with you. (You can find the link at the end of this post! 1)
It may not be as revolutionary as building houses or feeding the hungry, but coming together to help another person does build them up and nourish their hearts. That’s what JadeSky did by honoring me with a blog feature, and it’s what I pray to do for others.
It doesn’t have to be huge. One act of friendship, helpfulness, and love can branch into so much more. One person can start a wave of unity, much like one spark can light a bonfire. When you seek God, He’ll reveal to you the next step. The next right thing to unite those around you for His sake. And He’ll fan that flame.
Today I echo Jesus’ prayer, that we ‘may be brought to complete unity’. 2 I pray that everyone will take a moment and ask God to reveal to them the right next step. I pray, with great longing in my heart, that the Church will come together to shine for Christ.
If this happens, lives will be changed. Others’ will. Yours will. Mine will.
And I want that very much.
How good and pleasant it is when
God’s people live together in unity!
(Psalm 133:1 NIV)
1. JadeSky’s post can be found here.
2. John 17:23 NIV
To stay in the loop regarding Cabin Girl, and my other writing endeavors, join my email list (and I’ll send you a short story too)! Sign up here.