Be One in the Spirit and of One Mind
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
When we are united with Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and we are encouraged by Him as we seek to draw close to God. He helps us by giving us strength that we do not have to do things that no one else under their own power would be able to do – to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us; to forgive others; to shun evil; to love God; to restrain ourselves; and to glorify God. As we do all of these things, the Holy Spirit provides the encouragement to learn and grow in God’s character.
As we partake of the Holy Spirit’s strength, power, desires, we begin to share in His peace and we spiritually prosper. We see the work of the Spirit in others, and share in His love, grace, and mercy. He helps to unify us with the Body of Christ in mind and in spirit so that just as parts of the body function together as a whole to enable a person to perform tasks such as walking, lifting, writing, carrying, and other common tasks, the body of Christ is able to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to us to do.
The Spirit of God gently and tenderly guides us in God’s ways. He does so with great tenderness. Isaiah says this very well:
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
God desires that we all grow to become mature and complete. His tenderness in this process shows His willingness to have this happen, as we are fragile. We aren’t called sheep because we have the strength and certainty of a lion or a bear. We are easily scared and discouraged, and great tenderness is needed by God to fan the flames of our spirit to continually desire to follow Him, especially as we are trampled by the world and the devil.
And when we are trampled, God greets us with His great compassion, placing His arms around us and giving us comfort in His peace. Without His great compassion towards us, we would stay broken, unable to do anything of value, and wallow in self-pity as the world and the devil rejoice at their victories – just as they did when they subdued Samson.
It is very seldom that people can get together and be truly unified in mind and in purpose. When that happens, a unique opportunity presents itself:
1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
There is great power in unity. When we put aside our personal differences, and all work towards the same goal with unity of mind and spirit, there is very little that can stop us. God confused the language of the people during the time of Babel to stop them. But God greatly desires that the Body of Christ be united in mind and spirit so that we can do great things:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Jesus was able to do great things because He was united in mind and spirit with God the Father through submission to God the Holy Spirit. And we are told to submit to God as well as to one another. When we do this, we begin to experience the unique unity of spirit that God greatly desires for us.
A Qualifying Question
So let’s ask ourselves a question: Am I experiencing unity with God and His people the way that God wants me to experience unity?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, I greatly desire to be united in mind and spirit with You and Your people. Show me where I am not submitting to You and to them, that I may humble myself and repent of my independence from both You and them. Help me to be Your servant, that I may serve others as well. Give me the heart of a servant, and deepen my dependence upon You for all things. Father, I pray that You would work in Your people, that all of us would desire unity with You and within the body of Christ. Forgive us for our petty infighting and ridiculous stubbornness to hold onto ideas that divide rather than unify. Help us to agree to disagree on all points that are not doctrinal or salvation dependent. Help us to grow in each other and You that we may put Christ firmly and uniformly on display for all the world to see. This I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.