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Just saying the word Unity can cause turmoil for some. Especially if they are Radical Individualists. Instead of hearing the word unity, they hear ‘control’, ‘manipulation’, ‘conformity’, ‘yes men’, and/or ‘loss of freedom’. One of the reasons for this is that at one time in their Christian walk they have been in a church that has had the wrong concept of unity. In some churches, unity means that you look, act, think, talk, and breath like the leaders. If you do not conform to their standards, then you are spreading discord and are a troublemaker. The problem is their standards are not God’s standards, and they have made the traditions of man more important than the principles of God. When we have a correct understanding of the meaning of the word unity, there is room for diversity in the midst of unity.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definitions:
1: the quality or state of not being multiple : ONENESS
2 a : a condition of harmony : ACCORD b : continuity without deviation or change (as in purpose or action)
3 a : the quality or state of being made one : UNIFICATION b : a combination or ordering of parts in a literary or artistic production that constitutes a whole or promotes an undivided total effect; also : the resulting singleness of effect or symmetry and consistency of style and character
4 : a totality of related parts : an entity that is a complex or systematic whole
NOTE: One of the definitions of Unity is oneness-being the same. However, if you look at all the definitions, you will notice that unity has more to do with taking diversity and bringing it together for a common purpose. The best example is a puzzle. It is made up of various pieces with all kinds of shapes and designs. The pieces do not change what they look like. Instead they join together with other pieces and make a beautiful picture.
We as puzzle pieces do not lose our identity or personality, instead we join hands with other puzzle pieces to reflect the beautiful picture of Jesus.
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.
being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
NOTE: We are perfected in unity through Jesus, not by man’s methods. We are called to unity in Spirit, faith, and love. You and I can have different giftings, callings, personalities, and even go to different churches and yet be unified in Spirit, faith, and love.
In our next nugget we will explore the characteristics of unity further.
Copyright © 2002 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS).