Wow, I am so moved by my stat. counter lately on this blog. My post “Unity in the Body of Christ” is the 2nd highest read post on my blog of all time! It really blows me away b/c I think many realize and share my passion for truly having unity in the body of Christ. I know for me this past year, it has been an issue I’ve had to work out in continued surrender; and it has been what I feel has driven allot of my spiritual growth. I have this crazy habit of preaching ,so to speak, in my car when I drive. I think for me, God has just been over-flowing my little brain with so much stuff that I am trying to figure out how to manage it all, and verbalizing it whenever I can helps. It seems that when I’m driving, I’m able to really process and organize my thoughts, I even thought of starting to record myself so I can remember what I said at a later time. So anyhow, I kept thinking about unity, and how I’ve tried to communicate that in the past, out of my own experiences and learning. Today I’ve come to realize the difference between fellowship and unity. Many might think they are one in the same, but God pointed out to me that indeed they are different. I went over to wikipedia to gain some clarity:
Fellowship: referring to individual Christians who are in Communion (Christian) with each other. It goes on to explain:
The term Communion is derived from Latin communio (sharing in common). The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as “fellowship”. In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with other Christians. This basic meaning of the word, found in many passages of the New Testament as well as in secular Greek, predates its other, more specific, Christian uses. If the relationship between the Churches is complete, involving fullness of “those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church”,it is called full communion. However, the term “full communion” is frequently used in a broader sense, to refer instead to a relationship between Christian Churches that are not united, but have only entered into an arrangement whereby members of each Church have certain rights within the other.
O.K., do you see the difference? This is exactly what God was point out to me this morning in the car! We can have fellowship with other Christians, in that we share in the gift of salvation and our core beliefs in the basic doctrines of Christian theology, but this does not mean that we are unified! In our churches that we go to on Sundays, we can and often do fellowship with other believers b/c we share the same life of salvation and beliefs of the Christian faith, but that alone does not and will never unify us! It may be a good start, but it barely scratches the surface when we’re dealing with the biblical concept of unity and the heart of God and the way He views unity. Look at the trinity; it is perfect, complete, whole, unified; working together for all things. Let me repeat that: unified; working together for all things. Look again at the definition of unity: Unity: (uncountable) oneness; state of being one or undivided; united in mind or purpose. There is Oneness, A state of Undividedness, United in Mind or purpose. I’d like to say, United in mind AND purpose. God wants His church to be United! To Be one in mind and purpose. This brings me back to church, where we go on Sundays. This is helping me see a conversation I had last night for over an hour with a friend. I understand that we’re all at different spiritual levels. I respect where you are, and I will be there for you, praying for you, and helping you to grow in your faith. But I honestly feel, and this is Biblical, that there comes a time where we have to start growing up in our faith. We really have to learn surrender if we are going to truly live for Christ! It’s right here in The Bible:
Hebrews 5:12-6:8 (New International Version)
12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
Maybe I’m wrong, but from my own experiences, I think that our churches are not becoming unified because we’re really not spiritually strong! We’re really not in the Word, it’s really not speaking to us, because we lack faith and we don’t want to get too uncomfortable. I mean really, God forbid we have to suffer or let God prune us and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. People don’t want to do that; they think that they won’t have endure hardships by following Christ. Endure, that means continuing on in. This is exactly what I mean when I say people don’t get me. Praise God, I am really Spiritually strong, and no, I am not boasting, I am proud of who I am in Christ! I’ve endured allot crap to get here! I’ve been refined, I’ve suffered, I’ve paid my dues so to speak, yes, I let God prune me, and it hurt like hell, but I’d do it again in a heart beat! and I’m sure I’ll be pruned some more again at some point; I’m gonna have to be if I want to keep growing! I guess I really feel like there are always going to be 2 camps on this issue. There’s gonna be those who are fence sitters, lukewarm in there faith, nursing the spiritual milk, keeping a protective shield around them so they don’t have to endure any degree of suffering for Christ. Then there will be the rest of us, the true Christ followers, who gave up the Spiritual Bottle at one point and never wanted it back because we found that the meat of The Scriptures and the truth andfeedom found in Jesus was what we really needed to satisfy our spiritual hunger. So yes, I love my weaker brothers and sisters and I will continue to love them, to pray for them, and help them along, but man, more than anything I really hope that God will unite me with True followers of Christ who know the difference between these 2 camps and live out their faith in such abandonment that I know it’s gotta make God revel in His glory to see such obedience and faith. Yes, in this world, we will have trouble, but greater is He who Lives in Me than that of this world.
John 16:33 (New International Version)
33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So let me just encourage us all to grab hold of our faith! Get unashamed for God, Get Bold! He gives us the power and the wisdom; let’s show Him some appreciation and love and start using it and living the fullness of Christ.
Lord, my prayer today is that you would unite your true body! That you would bring us together to do your work in Holy United Power. Lord I thank you for this understanding today, and I pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please take away the bottle from the weaker ones and help them chew on the fullness of what you died for. I pray that you will unite me with other strong, abandoned believers that we would bring you glory by worshiping you in spirit and in truth for who you are and all of the blessings that you have bestowed upon us. Lord, I can’t thank you enough and I can never get enough of you. May you continue to strengthen me and use me for your glory. In the Holy and Powerful, Life – Changing, Unified Name of Jesus, Amen!