Maintaining Spiritual Unity in Our Fellowships

Maintaining Spiritual Unity in Our Fellowships

     When I was a young lad, I played football for my school. I loved the competition. Two things I noticed in our team were unity and the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. My coach showed the team how to play great football and how to look after each other both on and off the field. He treated everyone with respect, and that meant a great deal to each team member.
     The coach respected the players, and the players loved the coach. Our coach went above and beyond to help me through some personal challenges at school. In turn, this only made me want to do my best for him even more. He held our team to a standard and expected us to keep that standard. He would correct us when we did not follow his instructions. And he always did this in a manner that built our confidence and trust in him. Our team’s unity was built upon discipline, respect, and even brotherly love for one another. As a group, we took part in events together outside of our football activities. Whenever there was conflict within the team, we learned to adapt quickly and reconcile ourselves for the benefit of the team.
     Several years later, when I started to go to fellowship, I noticed that my fellowship coordinator had the ability to keep the believers spiritually unified. It brought me back to the experience I had with my school football team and coach. I saw for the first time that some of the principles my coach had taught my football team were straight from the pages of the Bible. My fellowship coordinator taught that if we wanted to be a successful fellowship, we needed to be unified on God’s Word. When there was conflict in the fellowship, he got involved and helped to resolve it. He led by example and lived Ephesians 4:3:
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
     I made up my mind that if I ever had the opportunity to serve as a fellowship coordinator, I would follow his example of living and keeping unity based on the principles of God’s Word. I wanted to faithfully serve God and be part of building a strong fellowship. Unity in our fellowships can inspire each believer to grow. Growth requires keeping God’s rightly divided Word as our standard. We can apply God’s Word together by having our minds renewed with the love of God—and with forgiveness when mistakes are made. This is all part of keeping the spiritual unity.
     God made the spiritual unity by giving each born-again believer the same spirit. As we renew our minds to God’s Word, we are in harmony with the spirit of God—we are as one. That’s unity. It is God’s will that we strive earnestly to keep the spiritual unity. As we put forth a diligent effort, we enjoy God’s abundance and power and achieve spiritual fulfillment.
     To learn more about how to keep the spiritual unity, we will look at renewing our minds and two specific aspects of renewing our minds: (1) living the love of God, and (2) forgiveness. Then we’ll examine two sections of God’s Word that show spiritual unity in action. It is God’s desire for us to walk together in harmony, spiritually united on His Word. It is God’s will for us to stand together in spiritual unity so that we can go from strength to strength and from victory to victory.
     To be like-minded in spiritual unity requires that our minds are renewed on God’s Word. In order to renew our minds, we put off the old man, the old ways of living life, and put on the new man.
Ephesians 4:22-24:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
     Keeping the spiritual unity requires intentional, diligent effort. It requires the demise of our old-man habits. At times we may not feel like making the necessary changes, but this is about doing what is right in the sight of God our Father. The old ways of living life did not bring us peace of mind; they brought us doubt, worry, and fear. God’s Word lovingly encourages us to renew our minds so that we can enjoy sweet fellowship in unity with Him and with each other. This requires each individual believer doing their part. Then together we can enjoy confidence, trust, and positive believing.
Philippians 2:5:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
     What was in the mind of Christ Jesus? It was the powerful Word of God which he rightly divided and applied! Jesus Christ put the Word into his heart, and we can follow his example. God knows that we need spiritual unity to enjoy His benefits. That is why He instructs all of us to renew our minds, following the example set by Jesus Christ.
     Renewing our minds to the Word involves living the love of God. It takes each believer manifesting the love of God to others, showing long-suffering, gentleness, and kindness….

This is an excerpt from the May/June 2013 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2013 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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