ONE OF Christ’s primary concerns in His prayer in the garden (John 17:20-23) was Unity. Paul reiterated its importance (Ephesians 4:1-6). Our Father’s Kingdom is one of peace, harmony and unity (Isaiah 9:6-7). The Father enjoins all His people to actively seek peace and unity with Him and with each other (Psalms 34:11-14). Consequently, a desire for peaceful, unified relationships should motivate all our thoughts and actions.
Division is the absolute opposite of unity and destroys peace and harmony. Our Father views division in His Church as sedition or insurrection against Him and His Holy Purpose. Knowing how important unity is to the Father and how He views division, we need to ask ourselves if we are individually or collectively responsible for division.
Paul defines for us the basic cause of division as carnality (I Corinthians 3:1-4). Carnality is behaving as mere mortal men having our thoughts based mainly in this temporal, material, natural, world. In Corinth, the people were driven more by their five senses and thoughts than led by the Holy Spirit.
In Galatians 5, Paul describes carnality as “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21). Of these seventeen “works” 8 of them are direct causes of division – hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, and envy.
Paul immediately follows with the antidote to these fleshly works: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16). When we do walk in the Spirit, we produce the 9 fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit in us can overpower all pulls of the flesh.
It is important that we all accept that these eight dividing pulls of the flesh reside in each of us. We must root out each of these fleshly works in order to stand united, shoulder to shoulder to the glory of our Father.