1.The importance of Unity.
Unity is one of the most important keys in the Kingdom of God to blessing and breakthrough. Therefore, the enemy’s greatest tactic is to destroy our unity, especially in the church and in the family. Unity is a universal law, for where there is unity, there is strength. We can see this principle at work in the story of the Tower of Babel. We read in Genesis, “And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” (Genesis 11:6)
Because of their unity, there was no limit to what they could achieve, that is why God brought confusion by giving them different languages to destroy their unity. If this is true in this negative situation, how much more is it true when there is unity among us in the Kingdom of God. In Psalm 133:1,we read, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! … For there the LORD commanded the blessing – Life forevermore.” Even though we are blessed, because we are in Christ, unity puts us in a position to experience His blessing. When there is unity in the church, there is a commanded blessing. When there is unity in a family, especially between a husband and a wife, there is a commanded blessing. This can apply to any team situation.
There are some things that God will only give us in the context of a team and not as individuals. In Psalm 36:8we read, “They will be abundantly satisfied by the fullness of Your house.” It is in the house of God, the church that God blesses us. That is where His resources are located. Those that cut themselves off from the living church cut themselves off from God’s provision! In Genesis 28:17we read that the “house of God”is also the “gate of heaven.” Therefore, when there is unity in God’s house, we open up a portal to heaven to experience the presence of God, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and angelic activity.
In Acts 2:1, we read that “they were all with one accord in one place” when God poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We have the same situation re-occurring in Acts 2:44-47we read; ‘Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common… So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, … And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”Furthermore, we read In Acts 4:32-33 we read that “the multitude that believed, were of one heart and one soul…. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
Many revivals were started as the result of unity. We have the example, of the revival in the Hebrides Islands in 1940’s. A number of people came together to pray for revival. After praying for a long time, nothing happened. They then asked God why He had not answered their prayers. The Lord said to them that it was because of their lack of unity, and that they first had to repent of their lack of unity and from strife and conflict. When they did so, God told them to send for a man called Duncan Campbell from Scotland. When Duncan Campbell arrived, a revival broke out and practically the whole island was saved. People even stood outside a local police station to confess their sins because there were not enough pastors to help them. This revival broke out, because of their unity.
When there is unity in the church, there will be a manifestation of blessing and favor. On the other hand, many churches destroyed and weakened by disunity and conflict. I have often noticed that when contentious people leave a church, the church will grow and be blessed. In 2 Corinthians 2:11Paul says, “we are not ignorant of the Satan’s tactics“. In the context of this chapter, the tactic he was referring to, was un-forgiveness that caused disunity in the church.
Ephesians 4:3, “Keep the unity of the Spiritin the bond of peace.” In the Amplified Bible we read, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit.” Notice, first of all it says, “the unity of the Spirit.” It is not because we all agree together or we all have to submit to some leader. It is a unity that comes when we submit to the Holy Spirit! Secondly it says “in the bond of peace.” This means that we have right relationships that are free from strife and conflict. Even if we do not all agree, we can still maintain peace in our relationships.
Unity is a manifestation of corporate humility! In Philippians 2:2-4we read, “Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothingbe done through selfish ambitionor conceit, but in lowliness of mindlet each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Humility, which puts the interests of others, first, is a condition to have “fellowship of the Spirit.”
List of practical steps to build unity in a team:
(1) We must be committed to the team:In order to do so, we must put the interests of others first. The members on the team must know that by our actions, we are committed to the team. The Bible says in Philippians 2:4“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (NLT) With regards to unity in a church or in a home group, the Bible says in Psalm 92:13-14that we must be “planted in the house of the Lord.” If a tree is planted, it does not move when the winds blow. When we are part of a team, we stay there even when we go through ‘storms.’ Unfortunately, some people are like wet soap. The moment they are under pressure they move!
(2)We must pray for one another: One of the quickest ways to destroy conflict in a team, is through prayer. Prayer will release the grace of God to bring about unity. We cannot continue in disunity and strife if we continue to pray for one another. Praying for one another brings the unity of the Spirit!
(3) It is important that we resolve conflict as soon as possible. The longer we allow conflict to continue, the worse it will become. Proverbs 17:14“Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.”(NLT) The moment we see a wrong attitude, in a team, we should deal with it. If not it can have catastrophic consequences later.
(4) We must speak directly to people and not behind their backs. In Matthew 18:15we read, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:“Therefore, we should make a commitment, never to receive or give an evil report about another team member behind their backs. If we cannot say something positive about someone on the team, keep quiet! InTitus 3:2 it says, “Speak evil of no man!”
(5) We must be willing to receive loving correction from one another.This will require great humility from us! In Psalm 141:5,“Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. Let him rebuke me, it will be an excellent oil; let my head not refuse it.” The ability to receive rebuke or reproof is one of the quickest ways to grow spiritually. Please note, I mentioned “loving correction,” therefore we do not have to receive destructive criticism. Loving correction should take place in the context of committed relationships.
(6) We must forgive one another. Un-forgiveness is one of the greatest causes of disunity. Statistics show that the greatest cause of divorce is not adultery, or financial problems, but un-forgiveness. Forgiveness is not earned but given, therefore we do not forgive people because they deserve it. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32 “Forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you!” Forgiveness also destroys the demonic strongholds that cause disunity. Therefore, in order to have unity, we have to continually forgive one another.
(7) We must be loyal to our team leaders. This does not mean that we always have to agree with everything they say or do, and never confront them, but they know that through our attitudes and actions, we are there to always support them. InLuke 16:12we read, that “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?”If we ever have to find a new team leader, then we should do so with a humble attitude. It is wrong to just get up and leave without telling our leaders why we did so. Furthermore, the way we leave one team, is the way we will enter into the next team. If we are offended with the previous leader, we will probably be offended with the next leader.
(8) We must make a commitment to purity and holiness. In Jude 1:19it says that “Sensual persons cause divisions, not having the Spirit!” Sin and compromise gives the devil the legal right to destroy our unity. Therefore, it is important to strive towards holiness and purity in our own hearts and minds. Many of those who cause disunity often have moral issues.
(9) The importance of the Holy Spirit.Just as those who do not have the Holy Spirit cause divisions, those who are spiritual will have unity. (Jude 1:19) Furthermore we read in John 17:22, “And the glorywhich You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” The glory is the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. Those who are continually filled with the Holy Spirit will walk in unity. The Holy Spirit will break down walls of divisions and enable us to live in unity. We see an example of this in Acts 2.1-4.
(10)It is important to have goals in our life. We have the example in the book of Nehemiah. They had unity because there was a common goal to build the wall of Jerusalem. We will never have unity, if our goal is simply unity. Unity is not a goal, but a means to achieve a goal. For example, our goals can be to reach people for Christ or do something together for God. Just as stagnant water breeds diseases, so a stagnant life, with no goals to motivate us, will breed strife.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, it was the custom for the miners to gather in a field on Sundays for fellowship and to take their dogs for a walk. One day a certain man noticed something interesting. While the miners were just talking and nothing else was happening, the dogs began to fight and bark at one another. Suddenly, a rabbit jumped out of a hole, all the dogs stopped fighting and began to chase the rabbit. There was automatic unity, because they had a common goal. We all need “rabbits to chase.” We need to have a common goal!
Finally:Our unity in the body of Christ is with those who are truly born again, and believe in the fundamental doctrines that lead to salvation. We cannot have unity with those who deny the new birth, the divinity of Jesus, the existence of a heaven and a hell, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and that God is a triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must all believe that salvation is only found in Jesus Christ and in what He accomplished on the cross for us. There is no other way of salvation. In Acts 4:12we read, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Unity is a very high priority in the kingdom of God. It is one of the reasons why God has given us the ministry gifts. We read in Ephesians 4:13, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” Through the unity in the church, God reveals His Son to the world. We read how Jesus prayed in John 17:21-23“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believethat You sent Me. When we live in unity, we will bring glory to God and influence this world for Jesus. Therefore, let us “keep the unity of the Spiritin the bond of peace.” Amen