"Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’"
Unity requires sacrifice. The price of unity is the sacrifice of self. In the final prayer that He spoke over His disciples, Jesus asked repeatedly that all believers would be one. He prayed over those men who had toiled with Him, but not them only. He also looked ahead to include those of us who came to believe in Him because of the word of those first disciples (John 17:20). His great desire was for all believers to be joined in unity, one heart and one purpose.
Unity is a lofty goal, but the difficulty arises when we do more than talk about it. We advocate for unity until it requires more than words. Sacrifice is required – which is wonderful if the other person is willing to do so. We get along well with others – to the point where they disagree with us. We can live in harmony as long as everyone else follows our agendas. To be so all-encompassing, unity can get pretty personal.
The apostle Paul gives us a beautiful analogy of unity between marriage and the church (Ephesians 5). God ordained marriage as the sacred institution where two separate people, a man and a woman, are united in marriage; the two become one. This union is not without its struggles. However, the Bible instructs the woman to submit to her husband; she sacrifices herself to honor him. The Bible instructs the man to submit to his wife; he sacrifices himself as an expression of love to her. When these two separate people submit to one another in love and respect, they operate in harmony, agreement, and oneness of mind and heart. As separate members of one body, we must learn to mutually submit to one another in respect and love.
Jesus loved the church so much that He gave Himself for her, the bride of Christ. He sacrificed Himself. He emptied Himself, became nothing, took on the form of a servant, and humbled himself to obedience to death on the cross. In our relationships, we are to do nothing less (Philippians 2:5-8).
He is our example. We must empty ourselves – lay down our self-will. We must humble ourselves to become a servant of all. As we reason together and honor one another, we become unified. When we dwell together in one accord, there God’s blessing is found. What sacrifice do you need to make? What relationship can benefit from your obedience?