until we all attain to the unity of the faith…by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
Insights: Over the next three days I will be giving a positive side of Paul’s instruction from verse thirteen and the opposite negative side from verse fourteen. Yesterday we learned that disciples are gifted and the purpose of that giftedness. Today we see that disciples are also unified and not divided. Notice in verse thirteen that we are striving to by unified in faith. Unity does not mean uniformity. The aspect of faith tells us we are unified under the banner of Christ Jesus and His purposes. Let me give an illustration from church life regarding unity and division. A church is in the process of seeking the will of the Lord. During these initial stages of the conversation the congregants are expressing different opinions and ideas. Sometimes these thoughts are diametrically in opposition to other peoples perspectives. Over time, however, a dominant opinion is decided and the church as a whole collectively agrees to walk the direction they sense the Lord Jesus would have them go. At this point, by faith, those who disagreed with the decision would become unified to this purpose and would be huge supporters of the direction the body of Christ sensed came from the Lord. This first part of the illustration is the positive and biblically accurate example of unity. Unfortunately, all too often the negative perspective of division comes into place. The church has made their decision and instead of being on board with the direction the church senses they ought to go these individuals fall prey to becoming men of trickery and rely on deceitful scheming to undermine and hinder the work the church has agreed to pursue. These crafty men do this work by getting that wonderful phone line burning up with their divisive words. In other words, they are rallying their troops to oppose and cause disruptions to the unified purpose the church has stepped out in faith to accomplish. I believe when we write the truthfulness of these scenarios out it becomes very clear which one of these perspectives of which Lord Jesus would be in support. Beloved, obviously, the Lord desires unity for His church. Thursday we are going to learn the trait that those who strive for unity possess and see the negative reciprocal character trait that those who strive for division also possess. Tomorrow we are going to see the key to that trait which leads to unity. Beloved, let us be unified in Jesus!
- Would others characterize your life as one of unity or division?
- Are you known for stirring the pot or striving for reconciliation?
Prayer: Father, it is so easy to fall into the trap of causing division. Guard my heart and help me to live in unity with my brothers and sisters. Be glorified as we display Your love and grace to each other. Amen.