Before my 10 year-old attended camp, my husband and I told him: “Remember, you represent us.”
Before the apostle Paul taught about spiritual gifts to the Ephesians, he admonished:
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” – Ephesians 4:1
Translation: “Behave! You are Christ’s own. You represent the King. Therefore, be humble, gentle, patient, understanding, and peaceful.”
About five years earlier, Paul appealed to the Corinthian church to be unified. Their spiritual gifts had become symbols of spiritual power, causing rivalries instead of God’s intended purpose of building and edifying the church.
How important is unity to our Lord? On the threshold of His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for us―future believers:
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know you, (God the Father), sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:22-23
Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane), oil painting by Heinrich Ferdinand Hofmann (Heinrich Hofmann). The original is at the Riverside Church (Riverside Church, New York City). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Paul continued on this thought:
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 . . . .―one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:3-6
I counted nine ‘ones’ in the above two passages. Working together in unity is extremely important to God. Thankfully, our oneness doesn’t make us clones. Wouldn’t that be boring! God’s work involves many different individuals with a variety of gifts and abilities.
As the body of Christ―God’s church―we can accomplish far more together than we ever could individually.
God’s oneness of believers is opposite of society’s definition of being number one (Luke 14:19). By seeking God’s approval we can avoid the superstar syndrome.
How can the church be one and avoid division with our diversity? I would love to see your comments.