May the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another.
In Romans 15, Paul said we are to imitate Christ’s desire for unity. “May the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:5-6).
Did you know that Jesus prayed for you in the Garden of Gethsemane? In John 17:20, He said, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” He was praying for us. He prayed “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (17:21-22). Jesus was praying for the unity of believers. The greatest testimony that Christianity is real is the ability of people from all backgrounds to love one another, to care for one another, and to work together to build up the body of Christ. That is why Jesus prayed for unity.
There are two aspects of unity. First, there is a unity of the faith. The word “faith” doesn’t just mean belief or trust; it also means a body of doctrine. For example, in Ephesians 4:5, Paul said there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” There is one body of truth. In Jude 3, Jude said we are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” We can have disagreements about eschatology or Calvinism, but there are some things we have to be unified on: the deity of Jesus Christ, His atonement for our sins, the inspiration of God’s Word, and the bodily return of Jesus Christ. Those things require unity, or we will have calamity.
Second, there is a unity of the Spirit. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul urged us to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Notice that he didn’t say we are to create the unity of the Spirit; he said we are to preserve it. When you are born physically, you become part of a family. You can be a harmonious member of the family or a disgruntled part of the family, but you are a part of the family. It is the same way with the family of God. When you are born again into the body of Christ, you have a whole new set of brothers and sisters. You did not create that family; you joined that family. There is a unity that already exists. Paul says you need to be diligent to preserve that unity. That unity means we love one another. We pray for one another. We bear one another’s burdens. We fight for one another. That is the unity Jesus prayed for.
In spite of our differences, brothers and sisters in Christ are one family. And we are never to forget that. When we deal with this subject of limiting our rights for the well-being of other people, Paul said, consider Christ’s desire for unity.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cure For “I” Problems” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.