One of the hardest things in life is to get along with others. We are all different, we are all singularly unique in our personalities and we will surely have our own opinions. We will have disagreements and disapproving of what others may do.
Sadly, in our impossibly fractured culture, we live with the tension of disunity every waking moment. Hate, dissension, and contempt flood our news feeds daily. Whether we are discussing politics, racism, cultures, parenting, church practices, or “social justice,” we set up divisions, demand everyone take a side.
We freely do the “slice and dice” thing against our “opponents” with snarky wit and verbal ingenuity but only leave behind a trail of broken relationships.
While this may come across as being normative of the social media culture, as believers, this should not be so! Our unity is crucial for the sake of the Gospel. From Genesis through Revelation there is only one overarching message we all should be remembering and striving for: We Love God, Love Neighbor and Self.
If one is claiming to be a Christian, we should be getting along with all others, especially those non believers. After one is born-again into the family of God, one has an obligation and is commanded to get along with all fellow Christians. But, somewhere along the space time continuum, it all got seriously messed up!
And God, through His Son Jesus Christ and the ministry and works of the Holy Spirit has been trying everything under the sun to restore that unity of purpose.
There is much in God’s Word about getting along – even with those who seem our alleged enemies – those who would hate, divide, sow dissension among us.
We even get a sense of what that experience of His Unity is supposed to feel like.
Psalm 133 NRSV
The Blessedness of Unity
A Song of Ascents.
1 How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Amen.
Today, Let Us Each Ponder This Thought:
“Love is the doorway through which the human soul passes from selfishness to service and from solitude to kinship with all mankind.” — Author Unknown
There is something both truly delightful and refreshing about unity among the Children of God. When our senseless divisions are removed and long-standing conflicts are resolved, unity breaks through and love finally wins. For example, most people delight in beautiful ambiance, romantic music, fine wines, and a sumptuous meal. These are considered the finer things of life. But God defines the very finest of all delights—the unity of the Body of Christ – The Church.
What does the Psalm say to us today?
What are the best delights for God and man? What are the highest achievements a human can have on this earth? Only the right values can tell us the right answers to these questions, and only God Himself can establish these values. Man impresses himself with his military prowess, his intellectual capacities, technological developments. Henry Ford and Albert Einstein are heroes to many because they developed technology and greatly expanded the bounds of science.
But what does God’s Word define as the highest values of all? What is Jesus Christ’s perspective on this? What was His primary prayer petition while He was here on earth? “I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:23). He repeats this petition three times in His wonderful prayer spoken at the end of His earthly ministry. Jesus loves oneness in His body. He desires it. He preaches it, He intercedes, prays for it, and nurtures it.
Truly, sustained unity among men is a supernatural thing. It is a refreshing, beautiful reality in the Church of Jesus Christ. If there is restored relationship and peace between a holy God and the believer and the non believing who are still our neighbors, there had better be some reflection of a living unifying hope between the professing communities of believers and non professing neighbor.
If church-going professing Christians have lost the unity between themselves entirely and all is unreconciled, then they must still need to be reconciled with God. If they have no love of the brethren or affinity for uniting with those who are still their neighbors, the love of God must not reside in them (1 John 4:20).
Thus, the miracle of Christ’s reconciling work must be witnessed first and foremost within the body of the church. Nothing on earth is of higher value than the love between brethren. David and Jonathan seem to have experienced it (1 Samuel 18). Within the Church established by Jesus Christ, friendship and unity should be normative, a tremendous testimony into the world around us.
Two analogies are used in these verses to help us understand the beauty of true biblical unity. It is like precious ointment poured upon Aaron’s head at his installation as High Priest in Israel (Exodus 29:7, 30:23, Leviticus 18:12).
Like a fragrant oil that creates an extremely pleasant and peaceful atmosphere, genuine unity between brothers and sisters in the church makes the church a comfortable and attractive place to be. Disunity in the church, especially among the leadership, or between laity and leadership results in extreme discomfort, loss, pain, spiritual decay, and sometimes even the collapse of entire churches.
The second analogy describes unity between brothers as something like the well spring of life. Without the morning dew from the heavens watering down upon our earth, no vegetation will ever grow, no life sustained (Deuteronomy 33:28). That is what distinguishes all those green covered hills of Zion from the desert. Typically, water runoff from the highest mountains (such as Mount Hermon at 9,230 ft.), served as a major source of irrigation for the fields and hills below.
Without unity in the body, we will have dried up, untillable or dry rocky fields, withered fruit, and a languishing kingdom work. May God give us this blessing of unity in rich abundance, here and now! When the early church gathered with one accord, with a unified faith in the risen Christ, the Spirit of God came upon them and filled the place with His power (Acts 2) and many souls came to belief. Unity is the precursor to powerful work in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Not only does our Lord Jesus Christ desire the blessing of unity, He commands it. It is more than a directive. It is a certain reality, because He will ordain that unity. One way or another, He will bring it to pass in Zion. You can count on it.
Of course, He may bring it about through persecution, trials, and by pruning the vine (John 15:1-17). Our local churches may face obstacles along the way, such as -false brothers, divisive factions, and heretical schisms. But, do please mark these Gospel words well. Our Lord commands the blessing and He will have it.
How should I apply Psalm 133 to My life?
Let us appreciate unity and seek unity in the church body. We ought to strive to keep the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3 NRSV).
Unity in The Body of Christ
4 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This text may come about by humbling ourselves, confessing our sins, and sacrificing and imprisoning our own pride and comforts in the process. We may need to go the extra ten miles to open up communication channels and resolve conflicts with our brothers and sisters. Unity 101 happens within the Christian family. Whenever there are offenses, we should be less about anger, carrying a grudge, quick to confess our own sins, and even quicker to forgive one another.
Does Psalm 133 teach me to worship God?
Corporate worship pleasing to God is based upon Truth, genuine love for one’s neighbor and self, and one unified confession (John 4:19-24). We have the greatest basis for unity on earth, because we know that we are undeserving, wretched sinners who have all been wonderfully saved by the same Savior.
We ought to have a special appreciation for the gifts that the Spirit of God pours out upon Aaron, and any other person who ministers in the church. To despise prophesying or any other gift in the church is to despise the Spirit who is the Giver of these gifts (1 Thessalonians 5:20, James 1:17-18, Hebrews 2:1-4).
Hebrews 2:1-4 NRSV Warning to Pay Attention
2 Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, 4 while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.
When we are despising the preaching, the prayers, or any other contribution to the church, we quench the Spirit of God. Why should He pour out any more gifts upon a congregation that despises the gifts He has already given? The oil which is pouring off of Aaron’s head represents the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). This unity is complemented by a multiplicity of gifts that will only come from the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the church.
Family and Koinonia Discussion Questions:
1. What are the things that create disunity in our families? in our communities? and in our church? Did we play a role? Have we witnessed any of these things?
2. Do we appreciate the gifts which God has given our family, our communities our churches? Who are the generous ones in our family? In our community? Who has been sharing gifts lately in our church, how can we appreciate them?
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us, in Unity, pray!
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I pray that I may learn to live together with all my brothers and sisters in Christ in godly love and unity, and to Your praise and honor and glory. Protect me, protect us, from wanton discord, disunity or division and help all Your children to stand firm in the faith, once offered to the saints through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has caused us to be united together in Him – in Whose name I now do pray, AMEN.