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United, We Stand. Divided, We Fall.

By Abi Lasquety Ruelo

The real reason why you are all in this house of God is because someone shared the gospel with you. Now that you are a part of this house, you need to take care of it like your own. As part of this house, you need to learn to live with everybody in it. Is that easy? It is very difficult, especially with so many different people “living” together. But God said you have to live in unity with yourself (1 Peter 3:8), with each other (1 Corinthians 1:10), and with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). How will you do it?

Ephesians 4: 1-6 says, ”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.“

What can you notice about this verse? It is very difficult to achieve! Let us talk about the things that keep us together and the things that keep us apart.

What are the things that separate believers and churches?

  1. Religion, doctrines and theology - Churches separate churches. Believers separate believers. As long as you all believe that Jesus became man, died on the cross and rose again on the third day to save you from your sins, why should it matter if girls wear pants or if somebody can speak in tongues? Matthew 12:25b says, "Any kingdom that fights against itself is reduced to ruins. And any family or community splintered by strife will fall apart.” Everybody should come into the unity of faith and not in the unity of doctrine. Where there is a major division in any body, such as a house or a kingdom, it surely will be destroyed from the inside.

  2. Comparison - Even in the Old Testament, comparison played a major role in the destruction of people like Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, and even David and Saul. They all compared one to another which resulted in their downfall. Galatians 6:4-5 says, ”Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Just when you thought you already did something good, you look at your neighbor and se ehe did something better. Remember that God gave you a purpose. If you fulfill your purpose, then you would have already done your part to contribute to the whole.

  3. Individual Differences - Many people have many differences in values, culture, opinions and beliefs. Everybody came from different backgrounds and were raised differently so what is important to one may not be as important to another. Focus on what you are for rather than what you are against. Romans 14:1-3 says, ”Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”

  4. Gossip - This plays a very big role in unity. Anywhere and everywhere. Gossip separates. You may feel like it’s nice to gossip. It gives you a feeling of being close to another person. But gossip is actually a cheap form of intimacy. Beware the person who gossips to you; he may be gossiping about you next. Proverbs 6:16-19 says, ”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.“ Even the Lord hates gossip. It is a huge responsibility when someone gossips to you. Make sure to do the right thing and make the gossiper stop. Also, if given the chance, confront the other person in a loving way to be able to put a stop to the gossip.

How can you foster unity among believers?

  1. Fight for it. - Unity is not just a thing; it is THE thing. Just as you fight to keep your family together, so should you fight to keep your church together too because it is your family also. Ephesians 4:3 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Live peacefully among other believers.

  2. Be inclusive, not exclusive. - Although the church may have a lot of groups, they cannot live without each other. Each one serves its own purpose and have their own duty to fulfill. Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another, do not be proud, but willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Can you imagine if all of us were the same? That would be a boring world indeed. Your differences complement each other. He made all of you unique because you all have something to bring to the table.

  3. Know your role. - You are all God’s masterpieces. You should know your role and be confident in it. Do not take someone else’s role and do not think you are not enough in yours. Romans 12:3-6 says, ”For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.”

  4. Use the truth in love - Knowledge is power; but with great knowledge comes great responsibility. People want to know everything. But if you know everything, then you have a bigger responsibility. Use your knowledge for the betterment of everybody. Ephesians 4:15-16 says, ”Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.“

God created us on purpose for a purpose. There are no accidents on this earth. When people get along, He releases His blessing that empowers you to do great works. But everything you do should be around a common purpose, which is to spread the gospel around the world.

In Genesis 11, when theyw ere trying to buold the tower of Babel, God recognized the strength of the unity of people. If you are united with one common goal, then nothing will be impossible for you to do. God acknowledged this about unbelievers in the beginning. What can believers not do if they were all united in their faith? Nothing. Everything they think of will be possible.

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