UNITY IN CHRIST [Advent: Day 12]
I am a believer in the power of story. Your story, my story, stories of people that we don’t even know. We are all living one, and through good times and bad, they begin to shape who we are. Our stories are how we relate to each other, learn about one another and become inspired. And I believe they have the power to unlock the potential in another person’s life if we are willing to share.
Think about the people you are drawn to in life. For me, I am drawn to people who have faced similar circumstances as I have. There is a kind of deep empathy that can happen through shared experiences. But quite opposite, I am often attracted to people with much different stories. People of different backgrounds, circumstances and belief systems. People who, from the outside, I share nothing in common with.
There is something powerful when you can enter into somebody’s life. Simply asking questions and listening with no agenda suddenly turns an idea of somebody into a living, breathing human being with a soul and a heart. Deep down, we all want to be heard. And you know what I have found? Some of my greatest moments of learning and growth have come from the most unexpected people in the most unexpected times. I have to believe God smiles at those moments.
It’s crazy to me that a world that is so connected still feels so segregated. When I think about the Christmas time and the birth of Christ, I think about the purest intentions that He had for His followers. He calls us to love God, and love others as himself. Unity.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14
“That together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,” Philippians 1:27
When Jesus was born, He brought with Him the power to change the story of every single person to walk this earth. With Him, our lives don’t have to be the same. In Him we can find joy, peace, grace, mercy, acceptance, forgiveness, love, light, and compassion. We can experience UNITY. These are more than instructions, I believe they are commands for Christians. But honestly, as I look at the world, and even examine parts of my own heart, that’s not often what I see. I see judgment and conflict, pain and suffering, rejection and a at times a general lack of compassion.
Call me an idealist though. I really believe, more than ever, that we long for unity on this earth. In my own life, my heart aches when conflict arises. It could be with my husband or family, with a friend, or what I see happening in my daily life, in my city or in the world at large. It can feel overwhelming. But during this season, especially as we take time to consider the birth, life and death of Jesus, how can we not see that His command to Love God, Love Others should not be our mission in life? This should be a given for Christians. We should be building each other up so we can focus our energy on those who don’t know Him.
Jesus loved so very well. He loved a hundred, but left the ninety nine to go after the one who was lost. What if in your life the ninety nine had total unity in Christ? That would look like an army. What if the one mattered more than our petty differences? I bet it would look more like a rally and less like a Twitter war. I bet it would look like championing the next person, and giving grace in conflict and carrying each other’s burdens. In my own life, when these times are happening, people feel empowered, unified, on mission.
What if we were allowed to simply share our story? People are dying to be heard. And once a story has been shared it becomes so much easier to love than to pick apart our differences. It becomes so much easier to grab hold, have unity of mind, put on love, work in harmony as these verses say.
Jesus came to change our story. He came for unity. He came so that we would love. Our time is limited. Lets rally, champion one another, extend grace. Let’s go after the one. There’s an army to build.