United in Christ does not mean act the same way
Being United in Christ
If we call ourselves Christian, then we are supposed to be united in Christ. We are supposed to follow him to the best of our ability and serve him with our gifts and talents. We are not supposed to just line up and be the same person nor do the same thing as everyone else, by being uniform. We are not meant to attack others when they don’t agree with us, don’t worship like us, or say something we don’t agree with or understand. God is beyond our understanding, and has created us to be united in our diversity, to be the same, but different. We were never meant to be carbon copies of the same person; the Apostle Paul speaks out against this in his letters to the church in Corinth. He wants everyone to know there is a big difference between being united in Christ and being uniform with everyone else.
Spiritual gifts promote Unity
Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, that everyone will be given certain gifts or talents, and these talents are not to be rated or judged, no gift is better than any other. Two of the gifts go hand in hand, that being speaking in tongue and being able to translate the message to the public. Each gift allows the person to serve God in a special and individual way, making them special in the eyes of the people and cherished by God. There are several listed, and I would even say there are several more as time progressed and the needs of the people changed. The spiritual gifts from God can help us to be united in how we serve, but they also help us create diversity in our actions, to serve many more people and also learn from each other in our differences. The passage also goes on to explain the challenges of uniformity.
People use uniformity to attack others
Being the same, or uniform, is not what God calls us to do when we serve others. We are not meant to be the same; we are meant to be different, special, unique. We are created to do what God has placed in our hearts and allowed us to be skilled in certain areas. Some people are amazing at cooking; others can sing wonderfully well, there are some who can make the most incredible objects out of wood, glass, clay or something else entirely. Each of these people is blessed, and they are not better or worse than anyone else. They are not uniform; they are simply doing what God called them to do, serve God with their gifts and talents.
There are many people who believe that if others do not practice Christianity like they do then obviously those other people are wrong. They are going to Hell or some such claim. It amazes me when I hear people talk about how “those people” are not worshipping God in the right way. There are so many ways to show our unity in Christ we do not need to limit ourselves in what we do or where we worship. Unity is a wonderful concept, it allows us to be unique and individual, but also allows many people to come together for a common purpose.
Let us gather together and unite
“Whenever two or three gather in my Name, I will be there.” This scripture speaks volumes for the power of unity, because those people are going to be different. They are going to think about God differently, think about life differently and maybe even think about what Christianity should and should not do differently. Yet, when people gather to give Glory to God, they are united in one goal, to worship God. They are not worried about how they are going to worship, they gather together and use their gifts and talents in the way they think is best. No one is better than anyone else; no one knows the mind of God any better than anyone else does. We are all simply trying to do our best with what God has given us, be it a voice to sing or talk, hands to clap or make artwork, or feet to walk with someone or go out and serve others.
If we all viewed life in the same way, or forced others to view life the way we view it, we have forced uniformity and more than likely created hurt feelings. No one likes being told they are wrong, stupid or criticized rudely. Uniformity only creates negative feelings and harsh words. It may create a sense of community for a little while, but before long people will want to ask questions about their faith, about Jesus, or even about God. As soon as the questions are asked the uniform group has few choices, squash the question or get rid of the questioner. If we stand united, then we can openly express our opinions and questions without fear of being ridiculed or attacked. We can talk about our fears and doubts and share our ideas with others. We can grow and learn together, each person helping another one when they stumble. Unity can make us stronger, can show others we are not alone, and it is what Christ desired for our lives. Christ did not choose a uniform group when he picked his disciples. They were from many occupations, many different philosophies, yet they all gathered together to listen and learn from Christ. The disciples came to terms that they were always going to be different, and those who came later will be different still. The grace of God is for everyone, we can accept it or ignore it, however when we accept the love of Christ, it does not matter how we return the love… simply that we return the love in the way that makes the most sense to us… in unity.
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