What Unity Really Looks Like

Should anyone be surprised that when God first spoke to Abraham he directed him to “leave his country, his people, and his father’s household and go to the land he would show him?” (Gen. 12:1) If we seriously study the Word of God, we find that God was always telling those who followed him to move. No one could realistically possess the promises God had for them from where they were. God is a God who is moved by faith and faith always requires obedience. But obedience is not the only thing involved. In fact, obedience must always be coupled with discipline. Discipline is required if one is to make the journey required to receive the promise. As a result, it can be concluded that the journey is necessary in order for faith and discipline to truly be tested. Then, were one ends up testifies of whether or not they learned the lessons that came with the journey.
 
The same thing happened with the children of Israel as they moved from Egypt to the Promise Land. After 450 years of slavery they relished in the opportunity to leave Egypt with the intent to inherit the land God had promised to their forefathers. But this trip would also require faith and demand discipline. This move was different because it would require that the entire Israelite family learn the lessons together. It would not be profitable for some of them to learn the lesson while others did not. This point was tested when Moses sent spies into the land to see that it was everything the Lord had promised. The problem was that the majority of those who were sent to spy out the land failed to learn the lessons of faith and discipline. As a result, those originally sent returned divided. The greater challenge manifested as their influence was duplicated by the people, and they in turn, were divided. This created a monumental crisis resulting in an entire generation failing to enter the Promise Land.
 
Paul reveals that this need for unity even involved Jesus. Phil. 2:6-8 declares: “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, (7) but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Jesus also had to leave where he was and come to where we were in order to fulfill the purpose for which he came. He also had to exercise faith and learn discipline in order to finish the work assigned to him. His task was even more complicated because he had to share his purpose with men with the goal being that his purpose would also become theirs. This would demand unity and so we witness the final prayer of Jesus: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. (23) I in them an you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22-23) Even Jesus was subject to the journey if He was to realize the promise.
 
Finally, we come to the church, the followers of Jesus who would be the supreme test of the call to unity. Jesus allowed the Father to use his influence for his glory. The church must also understand that this is their calling as well. The church must realize that its influence is always multiplied by what they do together as opposed to what they do individually. Both forms of witness are important, but unity always results in multiplied influence. Acts, chapter 2, verse 1 reads: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. We cannot miss the significance of this revelation. The Bible confirms that they were “all together” in “one place.” This would be equivalent to every church member showing up at church at the same time—not to mention—consistently. This would be a miracle all by itself. Acts 4:32a affirms that “all the believers were one in heart and mind.” This represents a glorious journey that must involve some serious lessons of faith and discipline. Of course, none of this would ever be realized without unity. May our prayer be that we would become a unified people to the point that being together in one place would become our normal while being of one heart and one mind would be our witness. This is what unity really looks like!
​In His Service, 
Clarence V. Boyd, Jr. 
Senior Pastor


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