Godly leaders prayerfully discern the difference between legalistic conformity and liberating unity. Ungodly leaders confuse spiritual unity in Christ with abusive conformity, bringing about division, abuse of power and misery to God’s people. Churches and Christian organizations over time evolve into program-oriented institutions, leading to both blessings and abuses.
An institution blesses when it provides useful services beyond the capability of smaller organizations, and abuses when it forces believers to conform to man-made rules, rather than to the commands of Jesus.
Genuine Christian unity as described in Scripture believers already have, being placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit; this unity is waiting to be displayed to the world as people witness our love for one another (John 13:35; 17:20-21).
Spiritual unity in Christ opposes conformity. It liberates believers to develop different gift-based ministries in loving cooperation, 1 Cor. 12-13; Rom. 12; Eph. 4. Conformity is the enemy of Christian unity; power hungry folk clamor for unity but mean conformity to their policies. Spiritual unity does not consist in sending delegates to conferences; it harmonizes believers’ different spiritual gifts as they lovingly serve one another, both within and between churches. It also takes place within parachurch organizations, provided love and liberty are in place.
Let us prayerfully pledge to…
- Make using spiritual gifts joyful and easy for others.
- Know the gifts, strengths and weaknesses of those with whom we interact, in order to serve them compassionately.
- Avoid Satan’s counterfeit unity, of merely conforming to human policies.