In everything that has been written on this blog for the past several months, one key factor continues to be the base of every idea. Relationships between us in the body of Christ is the defining factor in achieving unity.
Maybe a better way to say that is that maintaining good and godly relationships with one another is the key to seeing multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual unity manifest itself within the modern church body.
So what does it mean to maintain good relationships with one another? The Apostle Paul has some good insight.
Paul notes his (and God’s) desire that we “all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). We are in the “same mind” and “judgment” when we put Christ first in our lives and continually seek Him. When we strive to be like Christ, all of us are on the same page.
Elsewhere, Paul writes that we must “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1–3). Relationships are best maintained when we strive to walk in humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, and diligence with one another.
One of Paul’s most famous sayings is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4–7:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Our relationships flourish when rooted in love, obviously. When we are patient, kind, humble, not easily angered, empathic, and hopeful, we find our relationships with others bolstered.
In all of this (and more could be said), we find the key to unity. Love is the key to unity. Humility is the key to unity. Patience is the key to humility. Being of the same mind is the key to unity. We find all of these in our relationships with one another. When we have good relationships with others in the body of Christ, we will see unity occur easily and frequently.
“[L]ove one another” Christ says, “even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35).
Amen (so be it).