S196P23 – Growth spurts: unity

Eph. 4:11-16

And [the Lord] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

It has happened before, and it likely will happen again.  We were a small church plant and seemed pretty together in the beginning.  We certainly agreed on the purpose of that venture, which was to have a Spirit-filled church in an unlikely place.  As far as our doctrine was concerned, we were in agreement.  As far as commitment to the body was concerned, we saw one another often.  This was a very tight family of believers, and we knew that would be important.  I left that congregation after only a year or so to join a church closer to where God had moved me geographically, but I kept in touch with them.  Over time, factions began to form, and that united front became chipped and cracked.  Only a few years after being planted, the church was no more, and the separation left even some marriages in ruin.

God has placed the members of the Church body together for a reason, and it is so that we will grow to be a united front.  As we fellowship and worship together, as we teach and encourage one another, the goal is for us to become more solidified in our unity.  Identical doctrines are not required, although the objective of each one of us should be to know the truth.  We must start by being united in purpose.  Our work should be for the advancement of the kingdom and the unification of the body.  If our focus is on the body operating correctly, then our focus will be on our individual selves doing our individual parts.  The whole cannot be functional and efficient if its parts are not working well together as designed.  If we begin by being united in purpose, we can grow to becoming united in knowledge and good works.

We might see our spiritual unity as a bunch of people coming together.  Perhaps a better way to see it is as one person finally becoming whole.  The Church is the bride of Christ, also called the body of Christ here and elsewhere in scripture.  Some are fingers, some are eyes, and others are feet.  No one looks in the mirror and sees his or her individual parts as being distinct and separate.  We look at ourselves as one whole person.  As the Church, we are simply trying to help this one person grow together to be smarter, be wiser, and fulfill the will of God.  We can do that only if we see ourselves as one united body and behave according.  Father, thank You for the unity You have designed for your Church, and give us the wisdom to see ourselves not as individual children of yours but as the single bride and body of Christ.