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October 11, 2022

Our Unity With Other Believers Matters More Than We Think

 

By Matt Bennett, Founder and CEO of Christian Union

 

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. - Acts 1:12-14 

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. - Acts 2:1-4

A great blessing of the New Covenant is the promised increased presence of the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives for power to live holy lives.  While periodic fillings of the Holy Spirit should characterize the lives of Christians, many do not experience Him often or at all which makes the Christian life more difficult and prone to failure.  

matt devotional image unity

When Jesus ascended to heaven after ministering to his followers after His resurrection, there was a period of ten days of seeking Him and waiting for the promise from on high. It’s noteworthy that in Acts 1:14 the Scripture records that those seeking God together were of “one accord” and that at the end of the ten days, the Holy Spirit descended, filling the disciples with His presence. It’s also worth noting that there are several additional places in the scriptures also emphasizing the doctrine that unity of the Spirit precedes filling of the Spirit (see Acts 2:42 - 4:31; 1 Corinthians 2:10-3:4; Ephesians 4:1-5:30; and Jude 17-23).  

If the filling of the Spirit is lacking in one’s life, it’s quite possible that the reason is because one is not living with “one accord” with other Christians. Questions to ask oneself include: Is there anyone that you haven’t forgiven? Is there anyone you are envious of or jealous of? Is there anyone for whom you harbor malice? Have you been divisive in your church in some way? Have you been rebellious, complaining, or grumbling about your pastor?  

The spiritual world works in a certain way, and God has shown us through the Scriptures what is important.  He has shown that unconfessed sin regarding relationships with fellow believers blocks the work of His Holy Spirit and must be resolved.  Taking time to reflect on the questions listed above and repenting where your attitudes and actions have been displeasing to God can open the door for a dramatically more vibrant relationship with Him.  

Dear Father, forgive me for not remembering how important it is to be of “one accord” with fellow Christians.  Bring to my mind every instance of rivalry, unforgiveness, malice, complaining, or anything else that blocks or hinders being of one accord, so that I may repent.  I seek to be pleasing to You and to receive fillings of Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.