Echoing Christ’s own sentiments regarding unity, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6). In order to glorify our Father, we are to be unified in our thoughts and words. That is another way of saying that a lack of oneness, among each of us under Christ’s care, is to dishonor our Father. Our oneness is a litmus test of sorts on a spiritual level. Christ said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). True believers are defined by their love for each other, which as we just read from Paul, is something that God grants the willing.
Have you ever struggled in your quest to truly be at one with another member of Christ’s body? We all have. It is something that concerns us all because we know what can be and what should be if we are to bring honor to our Father. And yet the struggle goes on in some cases. It seems that he or she is just too hard to relate to. Why can’t others be more like me? How do we bridge the gap? Well, God will grant this unity to the willing as we do our part. We do our part, as Solomon said in Proverbs 2, by applying our heart to understanding.
Oneness is not about each of us being exactly alike in terms of aptitude, talents or personality. As a matter of fact, oneness is all about diversity in these various respects when we see it as God sees it. Through Paul, God said, “For in fact the body is not one member but many” (I Corinthians 12:14). The body, of which we each are part, is composed of many various dissimilar members that make the whole. We were never intended to all provide the same function. Paul went on to write, “And if they were all one member, where would the body be?” (I Corinthians 12:19). Instead of the body looking like a very balanced 165 pound person, it could instead, if we were all exactly the same, look like a 165 pound nose. Wouldn’t that just negate the concept of each part providing its own function to the benefit of all? God intends for us to be a diverse group.
Oneness isn’t found in proudly seeing others as different and therefore inferior to ourselves. That is the unwilling attitude that reflects a 165 pound nose that does nothing to glorify our Father. Oneness is found in seeing others as indispensable to our own completeness. The Apostle Paul said, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:4-5). This is what the willing know, understand and embrace. That brother or sister who is different from us has a strength and function unique to them and sorely needed within the body. It may be a visible strength that others can see, or it may be a strength that lies in the hidden person of the heart. God places us, imperfect as we each are, exactly where we are most needed in the body.
When we willingly let God be God and see each other as indispensable to our own completeness, we bring honor to God and contribute to the strength of the body.