Before Jesus went to the cross he prayed for unity. Let that settle in your heart. One of the last things on Jesus’ mind before he faced death was for people to have unity.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22–23, ESV)
Are you as concerned about unity as Jesus was?
Unity doesn’t come naturally, as Jesus’ prayer indicated, it is a spiritual battle. You have to fight for unity and the battle can be grim, but the victory is priceless. The reward is peace.
Because fighting for unity is a spiritual battle the weapons used are unconventional. They don’t make sense in this world. Onlookers won’t understand. The weapons that we use are weapons of the Kingdom. In truth, many will try to disarm you with good intentions. They will appeal to pragmatism and merit. They will press you to take up the weapons of this world that sound thoughtful and sensible. Because of this is it is vital to hold on to faith, knowing that God is at work behind the scenes. God never sleeps, he is always at work. Recognize that when you choose to use a weapon of the Kingdom it will always land a devastating blow.
What are the weapons we use to fight for unity? What are these weapons of the Kingdom? There are many, here are seven:
1. Remembering the Work of Jesus
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10, ESV
2. Forgiving Others
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14–15, ESV)
3. Considering Others
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” (Philippians 2:3–6, ESV)
4. Seeing People the Way Jesus Sees People
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:16–17, ESV)
5. Asking for Forgiveness
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16, ESV)
6. Serving Others
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Mark 10:45, ESV)
7. Letting Others Go Ahead
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Matthew 19:30, ESV)
This List is Boring
This list boring. Most people, even those who don’t claim to know Jesus as their Savior, will nod in agreement. Who will challenge the thought of forgiving others and asking for forgiveness? Who would dare argue about the need to serve others. Even those who do not believe in God recognize that serving others is a healthy trait and is valued in societies across the globe. No, this list is boring.
On the other hand, these weapons of the Kingdom ignite when they collide with the systems of the world. When you are hoping for a promotion at work the world scoffs at they idea of letting others go ahead. When the world positions itself in the political arena it is foolish to admit you were wrong. When the mob cries out against the villains of the world it is reckless to love them they way that Christ loved you when you were an enemy of the cross.
Yes, this particular list is agreeable and boring. Nevertheless, it contains weapons of the Kingdom and when you begin to apply these principles and not just read them, be prepared. The world will fight back.
Are you willing to fight for unity?