By Allen White
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10
How many churches were in Corinth? One. There was one church in Corinth. You could go to any church you chose, as long as it was the Corinthian church. If you left the church of Corinth, you didn’t go to church. Laodicea was too far to commute.
Today, we have many choices. In fact, according to Wikipedia, there are about 38,000 Christian denominations in the world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations) There are about 400,000 churches in the United States.. If I don’t agree with you, I have plenty of other choices. If you don’t agree with me, then I’ll just find another church who does.
The Corinthians didn’t have this choice. I would daresay that they were better off. Why? It was essential for the believers to work out their differences so that the mission could be carried out and so that the work of Christ could flourish in their lives. The significance of unity stems from our willingness to lay aside our stubbornness and pride and to show humility. That doesn’t mean that we simply agree with what everyone else wants to do, but it also doesn’t mean than we become obstinate. We actually try to work things out.
The church is not the place for people to lord it over each other (Luke 22:24-26). The church is to be different from the world. It’s not just the powerful or the wealthy that have a say. It’s a place where everyone has a say. And, it’s a place where we give others the same consideration than we expect from them.
Unity takes effort. Unity takes time. If it’s “my way or the highway,” then no wonder the highways are so crowded.
What should we be united on? We should be united on the things that are essential to our faith: God, His Word, His Son, His salvation, His work on this earth, and His return. When it comes to methods, we need to be flexible. When we don’t understand something, we should take the time to gain understanding.
It’s not wrong to disagree. But, it is wrong to create division. Humility says that “I’m not right about everything all of the time.” Ego says, “I’ll never back down.”
Where are you at these days? How are you tempted to create division? Where might you need to back down? After all, it may be more important to be humble than to be right.
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