When you see a powerful and effective married couple minister together you can be sure that there is great unity between them. I am sure these precious people had to really fight for that oneness; the enemy hates unity and is always out to destroy marriages by dividing them. Disunity results in strife and where there is strife there is every evil thing.
A couple of Sundays ago my neighbor, a very new Christian, was sitting next to me at church. She had also brought a friend with her. During worship I noticed that her friend simply sat in her chair, arms folded, looking rather bored. Later on my neighbor asked me privately, “Did you see Mary? She just dilly-dallied in church. She really bothered me. It would have been better for her not to come; she made it hard for everybody and disturbed the unity.” I was surprised that such a new Christian could make such a wise observation. (Nevertheless, I’m glad that her friend came. Even though outwardly it didn’t seem like Mary was receptive to what the Father was offering her at church, perhaps a small seed was sown in her heart.)
Joshua chapter 7 recounts the story of how a portion of the Israelite army fell to a contingent of men from the small town of Ai. The army was soundly defeated, men were killed in battle, and as a result, “The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away.” Joshua himself fell into despair and became angry with God for allowing such a trauma to happen. God revealed to Joshua that one man, Achan, had disgraced the whole nation by taking for himself some plunder from a previous triumph in Jericho. Thus, the entire nation of Israel became infected by Achan’s sin: thirty-six soldiers died in the battle with Ai, and the whole nation suffered disgrace because one man did his own thing.
What a warning for us to fight for unity in our family, our church and our nation! We often do not consciously disobey God; we simply do not heed or respect His laws. Additionally, we do not allow Him to speak to us like the Israelites who pleaded with Moses,
This kind of a mindset will certainly break the harmony between ourselves and God! Too often, we are more willing to hear a pastor preach the word than to go into God’s presence for ourselves! We know that once we surrender to His presence He may point out the things that disturb Him about our Christian walk. Very often, we are not willing to face the realities that cause disharmony in our own life. Consequently, we infect others, and this may indeed even kill us! Conversely, when once we admit to Him our sin and say things like, “Lord why was I so stubborn in not wanting to hear you?” the result is that we then walk straight into His arms, leading to healing and unity with our Father.
In the Old Testament, when a Hebrew priest fell into sin, he brought guilt upon the congregation. How many Christian leaders have knowingly sinned and thus have negatively influenced God’s people and brought disunity and strife “in the camp”? Leviticus 4:3 states,
Conversely, when a leader truly has repented from his ways, he often becomes very passionate, because he knows true forgiveness. A contrite and forgiven leader operates in, and is driven by, His tender love and compassion.
I admire those who ask for the glory of God. However, I sometimes wonder what their motivation is. Is it just to have a great feeling? To get goose bumps? Or is the purpose of His glory to be united as one with all believers, so the world will come to know Him? John 17:22 -23 (NKJV) reads:
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (my emphasis added)
On a personal note, one person in my family went astray while my siblings and I were yet children. Ultimately our whole family was separated, disunified and scattered all over the globe, all because of one person committing a trespass. How many churches are destroyed because of one person or one family falling into sin and breaking the unity God could otherwise bring?
I really do believe if we all, with the Father’s strength enabling us, could overcome our personal issues at home and came together as one in Him as a united Body of Christ, He would show up in a greater measure in churches today. If we were unified, He would have room to work; He would have adequate “elbow space” to move. Too often, the room in which God should be working is currently occupied by the enemy and his purposes.
Below, I have drawn a picture of a bunch of apples. One of them has a rotten spot. I’m sure everyone has heard the saying, “One rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch.” So it is when one person starts to murmur, complain, or fall into sin: the rest of the people around them become infected, harmed, and often rendered useless in His Kingdom.
I am often reminded of the time the Israelites, after their exodus from slavery in Egypt, murmured and complained to Moses about things like the food, lack of water, and difficult circumstances. God became very angry with them and either killed the people or even sent serpents among them to kill them. We can clearly conclude that God is not happy with a people who complain.
Sometimes our complaining may not be things we say, but our heart complains and that still affects the people around us, for it breaks the unity among us. Lack of unity with Him will disable His Presence to move among us to perform the unusual and the phenomenal feats He so desires.
Let us strive for His harmony in our own life and the life of His church so He can make us into a beautiful, powerful orchestra.
In conclusion, when we are one just like Jesus and His Father, His power will be present and working. Not only this, but also our lives will overflow with the same love the Father had for His Son. Our lives will be that of loving sacrifice, a life driven by love, just as John 17: 26 encourages us: