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Unity in the Body of Christ
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called” (Ephesians 4:2-4 NIV).
Church attendance and tithing continues to plunge. Sadly, many churches close each year due to insufficient funds to operate. As disciples of Christ, it is incumbent upon us to raise up new disciples. We must find our “Timothy” as did the Apostle Paul. Actually, we must find at least two or three for the church universal to grow.
I have spoken to friends that tell me they are not interested in attending any church because of “division, gossip, and politics.” If there is any place that we should be able to go to avoid division, it should be to the church. However, we are all human and are all sinners. As humans, we have a
desire for sin. Scripture warns of actions that are despised by God. “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19). Our mutual love for God should always be greater than our individual differences in politics or theology.
People do not want to join any secular or religious organization in which they feel uncomfortable. Also, people want to join groups that build them up. We have all been hypocrites at various times. Remember, a disciple is one that is actively seeking to disciple others. How can we disciple others when our words don’t match our actions?
Christians are called to live in community and not in isolation. This experience of community stands in marked contrast to the fractious ways we meet together in most other places in our culture. We all need to be taught how to be “together in Christ.” It does not come naturally. Our national political discourse reinforces polarizing viewpoints. Rarely are we taught how to watch over one another in love. By coming together in a prayerful posture and listening for God’s message through scripture, a sense of community is created. Unity in the Body of Christ is essential for us to fulfill The Great Commission.
Living in peace with our neighbors is essential for our discipleship efforts. We are a royal priesthood and sanctified for His purpose. Our sin separates us from holiness and prevents us and others from an intimate relationship with Christ. Hebrews 12:14 teaches us, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.”
Prayer: Dear God, Help us to live in unity with our neighbor. Help us to use our words to build up the Body of Christ. We ask that love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness guide our words and actions. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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