Unity in Christ Alone

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133:1

All throughout the New Testament we read about unity in the Body of Christ. In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, Paul urges us to walk with humility and gentleness. He tells us to bear with one another and to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. David in Psalm 133 tells about how great it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity. We are called to be one body, one corporate man with Christ as the head. But how can we do this? How can the Body of Christ dwell in unity when we have so many differences?

You and I probably have different tastes in music, sports and even food. We like to spend our time doing different activities and we may even disagree theologically and doctrinally. How can we possibly dwell in unity when our personalities are so different? By setting all those things aside. We cannot do it in our own power. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, even dwell in unity. What do we have to do then to dwell in unity and be a true body? We must make Christ the center and main object of our thought and lives. This means to set aside our interests for our own personal lives. We’re no longer just individuals, we’re one body that stems from one head, that is, Jesus Christ.

If Christ is my all and Christ is your all then do we not have everything in common? True unity in the Body lies in Christ alone, not agreeing on some doctrine or tradition and not being a part of the same movement.

Learning to love the Church

Over a year and a half ago my wife and I left the church that I grew up at to find a deeper relationship with Christ and His body outside the four walls of the institutionalized church. Since then, to my surprise, we have had very few encounters and conversations to where friends, family and other believers tried to get us to go back or find another church that better suits our needs. At the same time there have been some. I’m thankful however that most of these conversations have been out of love rather than offense and were very respectful.

I have recently noticed that my feelings toward the Church (Christ’s body, not a building) have grown over the last year and a half. I’m far from perfect and apart from Christ I am unable to love or understand love but I’ve noticed Christ’s love in me. Since starting this journey I have noticed that I’m often less judgemental of other believers. It’s much easier for me to have a truly Christ-exalting conversation with another believer regardless of what their “church life” looks like.

When we get together with other believers our discussion is more centered around Christ Himself. Rather than talking about a service we recently attended or what’s going on with the worship band we’re in we talk about truth that reveals Christ to one another in a deeper way. I am able to see Christ in my brothers and sisters in a way that I never saw before. I’m also able to see the junk in their lives that I never saw as well…and it’s beautiful. I’m able to hear from Christ through believers’ voices in a greater way.

I’m simply thankful for the many brothers and sisters that God has surrounded my wife and I with. Without them I wouldn’t know Christ the way I do. The Christian life is a corporate life, not an individual life. I’m simply thankful.

The most difficult leg of our journey so far

Well over a year ago, maybe even two two years ago, I began a journey. Over a year ago marriage became part of my journey and it was no longer just my own, but it now became my wife’s journey as well. It all started when I began feeling a discontent with the current state of the Church, both the one I was a part of and even the universal way of doing church. It began with a simple statement…”There has to be more to church life than this.”

I’m sure you know this story well, we started testing and questioning everything we were accustomed to, something that was a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. We read books about other ways “doing church”, we read the New Testament a lot, we read blogs and we had long (many times negative) talks about the church over coffee. Around this time, God gave us a glimpse of organic church life and a fresh revelation of Christ as the Head of the church and center of all things, and since then we have seen many glimpses of Christ, His eternal purpose, and authentic community. He has changed our hearts and attitudes toward our brothers and sisters and their thoughts, beliefs and practices.

And with all that God has shown us and done, I feel like we are staggering in our building up of one another. I feel like when we’re together we are unfocused. Well, we’re focused, but not on Christ, lifting Him up, or growing into Him with each other. So here we arrive at the most difficult part of our journey. We struggle to keep from being “religious” and trying to make things happen in our own power because we only want Christ and what He wants to do, and then we forget that Christ dwells in us, is active and living, and it’s His will for us to grow up into Him with each other, therefore we’re not intentional in glorifying Christ together but we wait around for something to happen. Are we afraid to share Christ with one another and therefore forsake one of our highest calls because we’re too scared to make mistakes? Do we really have that little faith in a Lord that dwells inside of us?

I don’t want this to be condemning whatsoever, either for my wife and I or our brothers and sisters in Christ whom we love. What I want is to step out in faith and forsake whatever junk is in me that is keeping us from growing and seeing Christ together in greater ways. I am extremely stoked about Christ and His body. I am stoked and blessed to have an amazing wife/best friend who is in love with Jesus and amazing friends who so are loving and beneficial to my life in Christ. Thank you Jesus for the world and surroundings that you have placed me in, even if I sometimes get annoyed by our situations.