Jesus prayed for unity among his followers. In Ephesians, Paul described God’s plan to create unity through Christ. Is there hope today for unity among believers?
When faced with the problem of religious division, Paul simultaneously undermined false values that foster divisiveness while cultivating principles promoting the unity God desires. His prescription boils down to three guidelines:
1) Do not become enamored with human thinking nor exalt the human teacher. Instead, the focus should remain riveted on Christ, God, and God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; 3:4-7, 11, 18-23).
2) Realize that God is the Judge who will determine the quality of each one’s ministry. Therefore, don’t sit in God’s seat to approve or denounce (1 Corinthians 3:10-17; 4:2-5).
3) To navigate following Christ, do not exceed what has been written in scripture (1 Corinthians 4:5-6).
How often have we heard or said, “I think …” or “I feel it would be perfectly fine if … .” The hardest part of being unified might not rest in discovering what God’s message means, but being able to move beyond our strong opinions about what ought to be. After all, our strong feelings and beliefs can create powerful filters influencing what we hear in scripture.
Perhaps the starting place to set aside overvaluing our thoughts in order to embrace God’s wisdom involves imitating Christ’s attitude in the garden, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
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