Our unity with Christ and each other, as Christians, is so vital that Jesus labored in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before His death over those who would be His. John 17 provides a detailed look at the prayer of Jesus. He labored in prayer to the point that His sweat became blood.
Unity with Christ
Before you or I can be in unity with each other, we must first be cultivating our own individual relationships with Christ. In Matthew 22: 37-40, Jesus first instructed those around Him to love the Lord with everything in them. After quoting these words from Deuteronomy, Jesus finished the rest of the command which was to love your neighbor as yourself.
If you or I fail in loving God, we will fail in loving each other. God is love, therefore, it is vital that I am found in Him so that I can love Him in return, then, love my Christian brothers and sister.
A relationship with God has to be cultivated through prayer and time in the Word. If I avoid speaking to God and fail to listen to Him, what kind of relationship would I have with him? If you avoid communicating with your spouse, friends, or family members, can you truly have good relationships with them? If you avoid listening to your loved ones, is a good relationship with them possible?
Unity with Each Other
I have heard some Christian teachers say that unity does not mean uniformity. In other words, I do not have to become just like others in order to love them. In fact, I do not even have to agree with all they do to love them. Love is not dependent upon uniformity. The love of God is so much more. Love still chooses to seek a relationship with an individual although there are differences.
God made us all unique (see Psalm 139). He did not want us to become clones of one another. He knows we all look at things differently. He knows that we are not going to serve Him in the same way. I believe He did this intentionally.
When you listen to a band or an orchestra, you notice that the instruments are not all the same. They have different sounds. With practice, those who play the instruments learn to harmonize their sounds so a beautiful symphony is heard. It is the same with God’s people. Our different gifts can come together and harmonize to accomplish the spreading of the gospel and building up of the kingdom of God on the Earth.
How to be in Unity
There is no magical formula to the challenge of unity in the body of Christ. It is a matter of working together despite differences. Accept that there are issues on which you will disagree with your brothers and sisters. Accept that they are not just like you. Be willing to work together despite the differences.
It is time for a disclaimer. I am not saying that we are to accept the message of those who claim there is another way to God besides Christ nor am I suggesting that we go along with teaching that is blatantly false. I am suggesting that we lay aside those differences that are not a matter of eternal salvation and work with each other to win people to Jesus Christ. There comes a time when we must decide to only know Christ and Him crucified. The rest can wait while we point the lost to Jesus.