A few Sundays ago, I was touched deeply by the sermon given by our worship leader. It was a timely message, as unity seems to be in short supply these days, at least as a country. But what about as a body of Christ? Moreover, as a child of God?
What does unity mean? More importantly, what does unity with Christ mean?
Unity, as defined by Webster is “the state of being united or joined as a whole.” Our country, for example, is the union of fifty different states into one whole. Turn on the news though, and aside from the landmass connecting us, there seems to be little else uniting us at the moment.
Finding unity in the world is difficult. By nature, human beings are prone to selfishness. We tend to focus on our own desires, searching outside ourselves to find happiness. I did this for years. Always believing that the next thing, drink, whatever, would bring me happiness. And it did. For a moment. It was in all those moments after that I felt despair and more often, guilt, for having given in to my weaknesses.
In a larger sense, we seek unity, with others, with the world around us, and with God. It’s when our motivation for that unity is self-serving, born of our own selfish desires, that it becomes fleeting. That kind of unity is not Christ-driven, thus it isn’t, and can never be, a lasting unity.
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.-John 17:23
Finding unity in Christ is powerful. I can only describe it from experience. From the moment I fell to my knees and surrendered my entire being to the Lord, I was enveloped in the perfect unity of Christ. Drowning in the darkness of addiction, where I’d existed for so long, there was nowhere else for me to go. Perhaps that’s what it took for me to finally fall? I don’t question that any more, and I don’t dwell on all that came before. I surrendered it all to God’s keeping and He delivered me into the perfect unity He promised He would: Unity with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Since that day, I have struggled. I have worried. I have faced fear and doubt. Life isn’t perfect. However, in one thing, I have not waivered. The longing I have to exist in unity with my Savior has strengthened my faith and delivered me safely again and again from those moments that try my soul.
There is a difference between man-driven and Christ-driven unity. The ultimate goal of man-driven unity is self, thus the outcome is not always good. History and the world are replete with examples of mankind unifying for causes that ultimately led to destruction and pain. On a personal level, in the throes of addiction, all I knew was self. Every choice I made, from the people I surrounded myself with to the things I gave my time and attention to, fed my addiction.
Christ-driven unity is unity of the spirit, which desires above all else and in all things, to glorify God. Unlike man-driven unity, existing in unity with Christ leads to goodness and peace. Again, from my own experience, existing in unity with Christ changed me on the inside, which in turn changed how I view and interact with others and the world around me.
I can share with you honestly, that fear and worry have no power over me. I trust in God’s plan and purpose for my life and strive daily to walk in unity with Him, with His Son, and with the Holy Spirit. The peace and freedom I have found in Christ are like nothing I have ever known. It is life-changing, soul-deep, and spirit-affirming.
Living in the fullness of Christ-driven unity means dying to oneself. That’s a hard one, and for many, including myself, it takes us a while and a lot of heartache and pain to get there. The important thing is that we finally do get there. And once there, that unity cannot be broken. It opens our minds and hearts to the truth of God’s word and to the sacrifice of His Son. As John 8:32 reminds us, “When you know the truth, the truth shall make you free.”
There is freedom and peace in existing in unity with Christ. As children of God, we are born with that desire for unity with Christ within us. As a body of believers, we are witness to that unity moving through us. And as faithful servants, we are called to be beacons of that unity in the world.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 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; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.-Ephesians 4:1-6
The perfect unity of Christ is born of the perfect love His father has for Him and for us. His suffering and death overcame the darkness of sin and delivered us into the fullness of His Father’s love. His resurrection paved the way for salvation and the promise of eternal life for all mankind. The gift of the Holy Spirit He left us, reinforces His infinite presence within us, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” Matthew 28: 19-20.
He came to walk among the sinners,
the broken, those in need,
to conquer death before us,
and for our souls to bleed.
He came to heal the battered,
to take away their pain,
to offer grace and kindness,
in His Father’s holy name.
He bore that heavy cross,
up Calvary’s steep ascent,
and there, upon that mountain,
His earthly life was spent.
Fulfilling His Father’s promise,
our salvation bought and paid,
yet, death could not contain Him,
He overcame the grave.
Heaven’s gates were opened,
when He rose on that third day,
the trust He gave His Father,
had firmly paved the way.
For all who humbly offer,
their belief and faith in Him,
will come into the fullness,
of the life, His death did win.
JN Fenwick (© 2021-2022) | mothjournal14