May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6)
The ESV says “together you may,” other translations get at the sense of the word there; it’s the word “mind.” The KJV says, “That ye may with one mind and one mouth.“
What is real unity? We live in the United States of America. What unites us? We are united on paper – the Constitution. Yet, as you look around our country, would you say that we are truly united in heart? Not so much. It’s one thing to be united on paper; it’s another thing to be united in heart.
God desires for us to be unified both in one mind and one mouth. Mind and heart are the internal. This is the level of our affections and desires. We are to be united there. And the mouth is our outward words and actions. We’re to be united there. It takes both – inside and outside.
I recall the story of the boy at school who was standing up in class. After repeated calls by the teacher for him to sit down, she finally ordered him to sit down. Once he finally sat down he said, “I may be sitting on the outside, but I am standing on the inside.”
True unity that honors God is unity of heart that flows out in unity of word and deed. When a church is united in this way, we are all pulling in the same direction.
This week you may tune into the Olympics. Let me tell you what you will never see in the rowing competition. You will never see a rowing team pulling their oars at different times or in different directions or taking the oars out of their sockets and beating their teammates. You won’t see relay runners refusing to pass the baton. You won’t see basketball players scoring for the other team. You won’t see synchronized swimmers doing their own thing. Why? Teams that do that kind of stuff never make the Olympics in the first place. They never have the honor of being there. To be in the Olympics, you have to unify for the glory of a medal.
Why do we unify? Why are we coming together? So that with one voice [we may] glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6) If athletes can unify for such a passing glory, how much more should we unify for the glory of Christ?
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2012 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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