“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Many people today suffer from serious “I” problems. They have a chronic condition that plagues their everyday lives. It manifests itself in some persistent symptoms:
The way that “I” want it
The way that “I” see it
The way that “I” think
The way that “I” feel
The way that “I” want to do things.
Christians often trip over that “I” issue. Real unity requires real sacrifice, but “I” is the enemy of unity. “I” demands its own way. “I” refuses to budge. “I” never prefers another. “I” is only interested in his own comfort or her personal agenda. Paul warns Timothy to be certain that church leaders are not self-willed (Titus 1:7), and Peter warns against false teachers who are self-willed, insolent egoists who despise true authority (II Peter 2:10-11). Self-will sabotages unity. Self-will refuses to submit to God, our true authority, and refuses to sacrifice to promote unity within the family of God.
Self-will makes unity impossible. As long as our preference takes priority over our purpose, unity will be impossible. The body of Christ can be divided by preferences: “I didn’t like the song selection” or “His sermon was too long.” Churches split over issues as unimportant as the color of the carpet. When we finally put “I” aside and come into the sanctuary to gather in HIS name, to lift up HIS Son, to read HIS word, and to worship in HIS presence, preferences are forgotten as we remember that our purpose is all for HIM.
When brothers and sisters in Christ dwell together in unity, God commands His blessing in that place (Psalm 133:3). Where unity exists, the blessing of God is guaranteed. Those blessings come when we sacrifice our will for His, where we lay down our lives for others. The wind of the Holy Spirit blasted into the upper room as 120 believers cried out as one voice (Acts 2:1-4). Three thousand people rushed to salvation when Peter stood, with the eleven disciples beside him, to preach the Gospel (Acts 2:14). A lame man went running and jumping when Peter and John shared what they had (Acts 3:8).
“I” must submit to him. Self-will must succumb to sacrifice. His purpose must take priority over our preferences. Only there will He command His blessing. Only then will His anointing and power rush from the throne of heaven to fulfill His purposes through us.