What Does It Mean to Be United?

What Does It Mean to Be United?

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
–Philippians 2:2

In Philippians 2, Paul gave us a detailed explanation of how to deal with difficult situations in the church: “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (vv. 1-2). What is the solution to problems in the church? Paul said the solution is humility that is demonstrated by being “united in spirit” (v. 2). We will never experience outrageous joy or be able to live above our circumstances if we are experiencing relational disunity.

What does it mean to be united? Let me define unity by telling you what unity isn’t. First of all, unity does not mean unanimity. We don’t have to be unanimous to be united. There’s a strange teaching going on in churches today. Many churches say that unless a congregation is unanimous in a decision, it should not move forward in that decision. But if you wait until the church is unanimous to move forward, you won’t move anywhere. Whenever you get Christians together, you’re going to have disagreements. You don’t have to be unanimous in order to move forward.

Second, unity doesn’t require uniformity. The word “uniformity” refers to a sameness that comes from outside pressure. We get our word “uniform” from it. How many of you went to a school where you had to wear a uniform? The reason the students wear uniforms is there’s an outside pressure–that is, the school administration–that makes them dress the same way. We should not have that kind of outside pressure in the church that requires all Christians to be the same. Just as no two snowflakes are alike and no two fingerprints are alike, no two Christians are alike. If I were to ask you, “What is the most important ministry in the church?” some would respond, “The most important thing is evangelism.” Other people would say, “The most important thing is prayer.” Other people would say, “Bible study is the most important thing.” Some people would say, “Missions is the most important thing for the church.” Which answer is correct? All of those are important purposes of the church.

God gave us different spiritual gifts because it helps keep the church balanced. God gives each of us different interests, and with those different interests come different perspectives. Don’t require that everybody be just like you. God made one of you, and then He said, that’s enough! He doesn’t need any more yous running around. You’re important. But God put different people in the body of Christ to bring balance.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How to Make Your Enemies Love You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

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.