Steph Nickel shares about the importance of unity among believers. Steph draws from her own observations and experiences to remind us of the significance of prayer, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Do you have a prayer request? Contact us for prayer support!
Importance of Unity
We know that unity among believers is important to the Lord. In fact, it was Jesus’s prayer for us in John 17:20-21.
These verses say, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just 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 have sent me” (ESV).
I wrote today’s devotional on unity after considering which woman in the Bible I should write about today, a woman just like us, one we can learn from. Two women came to mind, those mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:2-3.
“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (ESV).
Importance of Unity in the Church
Sadly, any group of believers is going to include conflict. After all, each of us is a work-in-progress. But these realities don’t let us off the hook from doing our part, from being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
What can we do to bring about the unity that Jesus prayed would mark the church?
We can—we must—take responsibility for our spiritual growth by praying regularly, studying God’s Word diligently, and humbling ourselves before Him when we recognize we are not walking in obedience to His commands.
And we must seek to develop and maintain right relationships with fellow believers. The Scriptures teach that, if we hold something against another, we are to forgive before we come to the Lord in prayer (Mark 11:25).
Prayer and the Importance of Unity
We must understand this verse as just one teaching about prayer. We don’t have to wait until all of our relationships are as they should be before we spend time in prayer. Mark 11:25 does teach, however, that right relationships are incredibly important to the Lord and we are to do our part to maintain those right relationships. Plus, with His help, we can forgive even if the other person never says they’re sorry and never seeks to make things right.
Our responsibility doesn’t end when we seek to make things right with those we have something against. We are to walk in obedience to Matthew 5:23, which tells us, if we are aware that someone holds something against us, we are to do what we can to make our relationship right before making our offering to the Lord.
We could get caught up trying to figure out just what kind of offering this verse is talking about, but I’m certain that isn’t what God is emphasizing here. We can’t pretend everything is as it should be between us and the Lord if it isn’t right between us and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Reconciliation and Unity
It makes me think of 1 John 4:20, which says we are lying if we say we love God but don’t love those created in His image. Not a pleasant thought!
Second Corinthians 5 stresses the importance of the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus reconciled us to God the Father through His sacrificial death and resurrection. As His followers, we are now responsible to do what we can to reconcile others to God by sharing our faith with them and seeking to be reconciled to one another.
The unity God speaks about in the Scriptures doesn’t mean agreeing on every point of doctrine. It doesn’t mean we have it all figured out. It doesn’t mean it won’t be an ongoing process until the Lord calls us home to heaven. But, like Euodia and Syntyche, we are to agree in the Lord. We are to recognize that all fellow believers are our brothers and sisters.
Christ died for them—and for us—when we were still sinners, as it says in Romans 5:8. He loved them this much and He is willing to increase our love for Him and our love for others. All we have to do is ask.
Living in Unity
The context of today’s verses from Philippians is interesting. Verses 4-9 go on to say, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (ESV).
I have often read these verses but can’t say I’ve ever considered them as they relate to unity. If we are busy seeking to obey the many directives in verses 4-9—and encouraging others to do the same—agreeing in the Lord will become more commonplace. Our focus will be where it should be.
Is it easy to live in unity? Absolutely not. I don’t think Jesus would have prayed as He did if it would be easy. But because He loves us and He has sent His Holy Spirit to live in all genuine believers, we, too, can love as we ought and walk in unity as He commands.
Let’s set aside our personal differences with other believers in Jesus. Instead, together, let’s learn to rejoice in the Lord; pray about everything; and focus on the things God wants us to think about, those things that are true, pure, worthy of praise, etc.
Images courtesy of:
Unity – jerryzhuca
Boxing Gloves – PublicDomain
Bible – KristoferG
Group – rawpixel
Read More About Unity:
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
Lynda Lewis – Stay Focused
Mike Dilione – Outline of Ephesians
James Howlett – A Wing and a Prayer
Mike Donahue – Evangelizing By Your Work
If you have enjoyed reading this post and wish to send us a comment or share a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.