What makes a group project so hard?
Why is planning a family trip everyone will enjoy so complicated?
How is it that even when we’re all together, we can still feel alone?
We’re all so different!
Having one mind among many people isn’t an easy task.
In fact, it’s impossible in and of ourselves.
Often, our best solution to complex relational dynamics, and all the challenges they involve, is to split. It’s to draw lines. It’s to avoid. It’s to make camps and pick sides.
“Unified” isn’t something that makes sense, comes naturally, or feels sustainable in a fallen world. But Christ’s mission for each of us requires unity.
We need each other to fulfill the mission God has given us.
This need is multifaceted. First, if we “think sensibly” rather than too highly of ourselves, as Romans 12:3 exhorts, we see Christ’s mission requires us to work together precisely because He made us all differently. He gave each of us a different “measure of faith” and a different “function” in the body of Christ. (Romans 12:3-4)
His diverse design is shaped for us to fit together.
As members of one body, we end up being members of one another. (Romans 12:3-5) We need each other because we all have different gifts that work together. (Romans 12:6-8)
Beyond complementary giftings, we also need each other because we waver and become discouraged. God calls us to “provoke [one another to] love and good works [. . .] encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We fulfill the mission God has given us through the testimony of our unity.
Brothers and sisters in Jesus relying on each other, persevering through differences, and striving together toward one mission with one mind is a sign of and testimony to genuine salvation. True unity isn’t just hard, it’s impossible without Christ. (Philippians 1:27-28)
When we realize our need for each other and work together despite our many differences, our unity testifies to the transforming, reconciling power of our Savior.
Group projects, team trips, the feeling of fellowship – anything involving people together in harmony – is hard because we’re all sinners. Our unity shows our humility. Our Savior Himself showed us the way, humbling Himself out of love for us to the point of dying on the cross on our behalf. Only He can shape us into those who do “nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider[ing] others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-8)
Christ needs more than just one or two of us, but a whole group of us, His Whole Church, to be humbled, to die to self and build others up. This requires us all to have“the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Philippians 2:2) This is Christ’s design for the local church and, more broadly, the capital “C” Church which is comprised of local churches all around the world. Global unity gathered under one mind and one mission, Christ’s!
Our unity in Christ transcends not just the usual challenges of working together with other people, but also the differences of culture, language, time, location, history, circumstance, and so much more. It’s a miracle!
Strikingly, it’s impossible to complete Christ’s mission without one mind.
Our mission isn’t simply to work together because we have complimentary gifts.
It’s not to humbly get along because we’re supposed to.
Our mission as Christ-followers is to evidence the One who does the impossible by reconciling us with God, so others will be reconciled to Him too.
We can’t fulfill the Great Commission alone, because it is, by definition, relational.
Christ’s mission is to tell people about the greatest relationship they can have, which is accomplished through relationships. Those who gain the relationship with Christ work in relationship with others to tell more people about the greatest relationship, and onward flows Christ’s pattern of growing His family as He builds His church through His church. (Matthew 28:16-20)
What a privilege to be part of this mission through our relationships, especially in the church!
This truth came to mind recently, when a group of women from my church gathered together around God’s Word and one shared a struggle. Each woman present brought our unique perspective to her situation. The words knitted together. The burden was shared and became lighter as we all worked toward one thing, lifting her up in the Lord. It was beautiful, and only possible because of Christ.
Though a tiny taste of the glory of unity, that fellowship of women caused me to rejoice in being part of His body and excited about this mission we share. May we press into this privilege, with all its messiness, of becoming one in Him!
Mission Day 9
We need fellow believers in our lives. We need the church and the coming together to nourish and strengthen us. (Hebrews 10:25) We need each other to accomplish the mission to which God has called us.
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