BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 Amplified (emphasis mine)
It absolutely thrills me when I'm reading the Bible, and a verse I've read dozens of times suddenly seems to leap off the page and I see something brand new. To me, that's a compelling reason for having a daily quiet time that includes prayer and Bible study. We never know what treasure God will show us as we spend that time with Him. Today was that kind of day for me. We had a beautiful communion service last night, so I was thinking about the unity of the believers who had gathered to share the Lord's supper. And as I reflected on the verse above, the word BEHOLD stood out to me like never before. The word translated behold is the Hebrew word "hinneh" which means "see". Keeping that in mind then, and reading the verse again, I saw that unity among the "brethren" (believers) is not only good and pleasant, but visible!
Why is that important? Why does it matter that unity among Christ-followers is visible? The answer is found, at least in part, in John 13:35 "This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they SEE the love you have for each other." (The Message, emphasis mine) They will know we're His disciples when? Not when they see our cool facilities. Not when they hear our great worship band. Not when they hear our relevant messages. But when they see us (Christ followers) loving each other, and living in unity with each other, the Bible says that's when they will believe we really are His.
Does that mean relevant churches should quit serving donuts and coffee and encouraging cutoffs and Birkenstocks? Of course not. Churches should continue to use every means possible to draw the seeker and the skeptic to Christ. Felt-need messages, video clips and good music are all great tools. But no amount of technical or marketing savvy we use to preach the gospel will convince them Jesus is who He says He is, if divisions between believers tell them otherwise. For several years, I led a Bible study where all of the women were from different denominations. We were Baptist and Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic, and non-denominational. The study was a source of wisdom, love, and support for all of us because we never paid any attention to our differences. It is possible! Let's decide today to "dwell in unity" with other believers. The world is watching.
Prayer for Today: Father, we know the world is watching, and that they will believe we are Yours when they see us walk in love and unity with each other. Help me to focus on what I have in common with other believers, and not dwell on our diferences. In Jesus' name, Amen.