The past few Sunday’s we’ve been working though a sermon series called Praying Like Paul. We’ve been looking at four of Paul’s prayers and adding them to our prayer life. Be sure to join us for part four on Sunday.
Last week we learned to pray for UNITY in the body of Christ, and I have to tell you it was a hard one to preach. Though I think we would all agree that unity is important, it is not always easy. We can get so caught up in style, and preference that we often forget that unity is not the same as uniformity.
Uniformity is when a group of people share the same lifestyle preferences. And let’s be honest, we tend to gravitate towards people who like or think they way we do - those who work in similar jobs, those who have the same political views, those who watch the same television shows, or those who enjoy the same sports or hobbies we enjoy.
There is nothing inherently wrong with uniformity; we each have God given preferences, and these preferences will attract similar people in our social circles.
But here’s the thing, I don’t think that uniformity should ever be the goal in the body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12: 4-5, Paul says:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Then skip down to verse 14 it says:
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Then Paul asks this great question:
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
If we were all the same, say we were all noses, we’d be pretty smelly but that’s about it!
Uniformity is built on individual preferences. Unity relies on the Holy Spirit. The same Lord that dwells in my soul is the same Lord that dwells in your soul, and get this…amazing things can happen for the kingdom when we put aside our personal preferences and seek unity.
When you take a good look at our church - we are quite a motley crew of believers! It’s pretty awesome, and what unifies us is our faith and our desire to be faithful and to bring glory, honour and praise to God.
This is my prayer for each of us:
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:5-7)