Unity is one of the most important keys in the Kingdom of God to blessing and breakthrough. Therefore, one of the enemy’s tactics 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.
Definition of unity: The Webster’s dictionary describes unity as: 1. A condition of harmony or the quality or state of being made one. 2. The Biblical definition of unity is simply, corporate humility. Humility is the foundation of unity, because unity involves submission and submission requires humility.
There are some things that God will only give us in the context of a team and not as individuals. In Psalm 36:8 we 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 28:17 we 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.
We have examples of this in the book of Acts. 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 2:44-47 “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.” When there is unity in the church, there will be a manifestation of blessing and favour. On the other hand, many churches destroyed and weakened by disunity and conflict. In some cases when contentious people leave a church, the church will grow and be blessed.
Many revivals were started as the result of unity. We have the example of the revival in the Hebrides Islands in the late 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. 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.
We read in Ephesians 4:3, “Keep the unity of the Spirit in 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, “keep the unity of the Spirit.” We do not have unity because we all agree on some issue, but we have unity because 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 and have unity.
List of practical steps in order to have unity:
(1) We must be committed to the team: We read in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (NLT) In order to have unity, we must put the interests on the team ahead of our interests. The members on the team must know that by our actions, we are committed to the team. The Bible says in Psalm 92:13-14, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in His courts; they shall be fresh and flourishing and shall bear fruit even into old age.” To be planted like a tree in the house of the Lord implies that we have committed relationships in the church. A tree that is planted does not move when the winds blow. In the same way, when we are committed to a team, we do not take off and desert them when we go though storms and difficult times! We will not be quick to leave a church when they go through difficult times. Some people are like wet soap, the moment they are under pressure, they slip away.
(2) Prayer is important if we want to have unity: It is especially important that we pray for one another, especially for our leaders. Prayer is one the quickest ways to destroy conflict in a team and will release the grace of God to bring about unity. Furthermore, it is important that we pray together as a team. In Acts 1:14 we read. “They continued in one accord in prayer.” As a result of this prayer we then read in Acts 2:1, “They were all together in one accord in one place.” As the old saying goes, “They that pray together will stay together.”
(3) It is important that we resolve conflicts as soon as possible. The longer we allow conflict to continue, the worse it will become. Proverbs 17:14 says, “Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.”(NLT) The moment we see the first signs of conflict or wrong attitudes, we should deal with it and confront it as soon as possible. If we do not do this, it could lead to catastrophic consequences later.
(4) We must speak directly to people and not behind their backs. In Matthew 18:15 we read: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” We are not to tell everyone else about it first! Therefore, we should make a commitment to one another and the team, that we will 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, we should keep quiet! In Titus 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 on our part! In Psalm 141:5, we read, “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. Notice, it says here that it will be an “excellent oil.” This is one of the ways that we can increase the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is important that reproof or rebuke is done with a loving and not a harsh attitude, otherwise it will be destructive. Furthermore, reproof and rebuke should take place in the context of committed relationships.
(6) We must forgive one another: Un-forgiveness and bitterness are probably the greatest cause of disunity. In the context of marriage, statistics show that the greatest cause of divorce is not adultery, or financial problems, but un-forgiveness. So many things will come right if only we would forgive one another.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32, “Forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you!” Forgiveness therefore, is not earned but given, it does not depend on an apology or even repentance! Forgiveness is a gift that we give to others, just as Jesus forgave us on the cross when He said, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Therefore, in order to have unity, we have to continually forgive one another.
(7) There is a right way to leave a team: If we know that it is God’s will to leave a team or a church, we need to do so in a way that it is pleasing to God. The right way to do so, is to speak to the team leader or leaders and tell them why we are leaving. In Luke 16:12 we 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?” We should show respect and loyalty to the leader of the team. Therefore, it is wrong to just leave and disappear without telling anyone! Furthermore, if possible, we need to leave with the blessing of the previous leader. 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) The importance of purity and holiness: In Jude 1:19 it says that “Sensual persons cause divisions, not having the Spirit!” Sin and compromise can give the devil a foothold to destroy the unity of a team. Many of those who cause disunity often have moral issues. Therefore, in order to maintain our unity with the team, we need to be continually open to the Holy Spirit to show us if there is anything that we are doing that could jeopardize the unity of the group.
(9) The importance of the Holy Spirit: In Jude 1:19 we read, “These are sensual persons, causing division, not having the Spirit.” When we are filled with the Holy Spirit and we continually yield to Him, we will have unity in the group. Jesus said John 17:22, “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” The glory can mean the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. As we walk in the Spirit and yield to the Holy Spirit we will walk in unity. We see examples of this in the book of Acts chapters 2 and 4.
(10) The importance of having goals: We have the example in the book of Nehemiah. There was unity among the people because they had a common goal to build the wall of Jerusalem. When we come together around a common goal, it is easy to have unity. For example, as a church or Christian group, we can have goals such as; reaching people for Christ, affecting our communities with the gospel, ministering to the sick, etc. Just as stagnant water breeds diseases, so a stagnant life, with no goals can breed strife and discord in a group. On the other hand, running water is usually clean and fresh. Let me give you an illustration:
This happened in the city of Johannesburg in South Africa a number of years ago. It was the custom for the mineworkers to gather in a field on Sundays for fellowship and to take their dogs for a walk. Someone noticed that while the mineworkers were having fellowship and the dogs had nothing to do, the dogs would fight and bark at one another. Then one day, a rabbit jumped out of a hole, all of a sudden the dogs stopped fighting each other and began to chase the rabbit and bark at the rabbit. There was automatic unity among the dogs, because they had a common goal. In the same way, we all need “rabbits to chase.” We need to have goals!
Unity with other Christians: In order to have true unity in the church or among churches, we must believe in the same fundamental doctrines in the Bible. These are; the new birth, the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, the resurrection from the dead and the existence of a heaven and a hell. We cannot have true unity with those who deny any of these doctrines. We can love them, be friends with them, but we will not be able to have true fellowship with them. In Acts 4:12 it says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” To have unity, we must believe that this verse is true.
Finally: The ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are given to produce unity in the Church. It says Ephesians 4:13, “till we all come to the unity of the faith …” Unity is a high priority in the Kingdom of God. Through unity God reveals His Son to the world. 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 believe that You sent Me.” When we live in unity, we will bring glory to God and we will influence this world for Jesus. Amen.