Today in the Serving Leader Pathway at Mountaintop we were discussing the Spirit Directed Church. One resounding theme came out of Ephesians 4:3-6 (one of my personal favorites).
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The idea of the Kingdom of God was never a solitary one. In other words, the Kingdom of God was never mean to be experienced through the aloneness of self or expanded through individual efforts. We are stronger with each other (Eph. 4:12). We are better because of each other (Prov. 27:17). The rights of self are surrendered when we come into relationship with Jesus. The fear is often that of the loss of self, the very thing that restricts our activity is the very thing we cling to so desperately. To lose self means to lose our individuality and this is a fear of many, especially in regards to fully following Jesus.
The truth is we do not lose individuality, we simply find a greater way to succeed by connecting our individuality to a greater purpose. We are connecting our individuality to the individuality of many others and the result is a lot of individuals who are not individual at all. We have become one, as all individuals are focused on accomplishing the same goal. Each person provides their unique personalities, gifts, talents, and abilities, but those very items which were once used to advance self are now used to advance God’s Kingdom. We are one. We are unified. We are unity.
This unity we must guard vehemently. It is our heavy handed responsibility to protect and foster a unity that is not quickly broken, if broken at all. Our unity is our strongest weapon. It is our fiercest warrior. The unity of God’s people is what drives the Kingdom of God. This is why Paul stresses that we make every effort to keep this unity through the bond of peace. Scatter your army, you’ll see it’s weakness. Gather your army and you’ll see it’s strength.
Be one who unifies, who builds up, who blesses others, and you’ll be the one who is advancing the Kingdom of God. Beware however, because the opposite outcome is always lurking.