Most of us understand the importance of unity within the body of Christ, however few of us recognize that we may have to look in a mirror to discover the person most likely to cause disunity!
Unity among Christians was Christ’s desire and prayer to the Father before His death on the cross. As He lives today, interceding on our behalf, Christian unity is still His desire for us.
Christ prayed, “I have given them the glory You gave me, so that they may be one, as We are; I in them and You in Me, all being perfected into one. Then, the world will know that You sent Me and will understand that You love them as much as You love Me.” John 17:22-23
In essence, Christ is saying, “Father, You gave me the power of Your Holy Spirit while I’ve been on earth, and I have given them the same power so they may become more like us in the oneness we share. When they reflect that power, and that oneness, the world will take notice, and will see that I came from You, Father, and that You love them just like you love me.”
So, why does the world not see the unity, love, and power among Christians that Christ desired? Over the next few weeks, I will address reasons I believe we are failing as a church body to reflect Christ whom we are called to represent in this world, so others might know Him.
One reason we fail to reflect Christian unity and love is because some of us have what John Ortberg calls “the Messiah complex.” “Every human being who has ever lived has suffered from the Messiah complex – the desire to be Master and center of attention, everyone that is, except one, and He was the Messiah.”
Our instinctive reaction to life is self – focused: “Will this make me happy?” “Will I be recognized?” “Is your request convenient for me?” You get the picture. News flash! It is not about you.
The one and only Messiah, Jesus Christ, showed us how we are to live in unity with others. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Christ was not disguising Himself so He would not be recognized as God. He came as a servant to reveal God’s very nature. If the body of Christ is to reflect Him to the world, giving of ourselves to others and putting their best interests first, is one of the best ways we can represent Him.
We must keep in mind that putting others best interest first includes keeping their relationship with Christ at the forefront of your mind. If we want others to know Christ as their personal Savior, as He desires, we must love them to that end. Living out the truth we believe, in love, in all circumstances, is key to building unity within the body, and key to extending the family as others are drawn to our unique love for one another. It’s all about Jesus Christ, so let’s join together in representing Him well.
Carmen Pate is a Principal with Alliance Ministries. Learn more about Alliance and how to discover your place in God’s story at www.allianceministries.org