Summary: How do we find unity when we are surrounded by so much difference? The key to is finding harmony.
“What goes up, must come down”
One of the truths of Scripture that we often struggle with even though it is absolutely true, is that Jesus was both God and man at the same time. It is not a matter of which one He was; He was both. 100% God. 100% man. So when the four gospel writers set out to write down a brief story of his life, you will find that each one of them tends to focus on a different aspect. For instance:
• John focuses on Jesus as God
• Matthew focuses on Jesus the Messiah. Prophecy.
• Mark focuses on Jesus the servant.
• Luke the doctor focuses on Jesus the man. His humanity.
It has been observed that at the end of someone’s life, they are seen in different ways…
• A preacher sees them at their best
• a lawyer sees them at their worst
• a doctor sees them as they truly are
Luke was a doctor. And he focuses on Jesus the man. And when we read the gospel of Luke, we start asking, how could any man possess the qualities that Jesus did? Under constant fire, yet he was always patient... Ridiculed on so many occasions but constantly showed grace. Trapped on so many occasions but he always kept his cool. How does this happen? It’s called humility. Which leads us to one more question—of all the characteristics Jesus possessed, which one was the most Christ-like? What is the most Christ-like characteristic we can have?
• Somewhat immediately say it is love
• others might say it was patience
• I would tend to say it was his grace under fire
But as important as all of these are, when I read Matthew 11 and look at this verse I come to a different conclusion. Matthew 11:28-30. Do you see it? He says I am gentle and humble. In other words Jesus was unselfish. No pride whatsoever. Never bragging. He set I came to serve. He even washed the disciple’s feet. Probably the most unselfish act anyone could ever do.
• When a husband is unselfish, he puts aside his own desires and puts the needs of his family first.
• When a mother is unselfish she will often completely set her own agenda aside for the sake of her children.
• When an athlete is unselfish, he’s not concerned about what medals he might win; he’s concerned about the team.
• When a believer is unselfish, others are more important than we are. And pride simply does not exist.
Psychologists say be confident, assert yourself.
Materialism says, be selfish, please yourself.
Pride says, be superior, promote yourself.
Christ says be unselfish, humble yourself.
Now we know this, maybe not at first, but deep down inside we know that but you may be asking this question …..How in the world can I do that? I know I need to be unselfish but I’m just being honest because basically I’m kind of a selfish person. I mean if you asked me who the person is in life that matters the most to us many of us would say-hey you’re looking at him. It’s me.
So if you’re like me and you need to have it completely spelled out, Paul is about to do that.... Paul starts here in verse 2 with a plea for unity. Listen to what he says. Make my joy complete by being of the same mind. Paul is speaking of unity. Being of one heart. One mind. One purpose. And it is as though Paul is telling us, I am already really full of happiness but if you want to make it complete, if you want to really polish it off, then practice unity.
So what is unity? Well it does not mean that everyone has to agree on everything. Everyone in the church. Everyone in the family. Everyone in the workplace. Because not everyone is going to always agree. There will be disagreements. So there is a difference here in unity and uniformity. Uniformity usually means that someone has been pressured to feel a certain way or has been pressured to do a certain thing. Look at the word uniformity. It has in it the word uniform. In this case, when things are uniform we expect that people will dress alike, look-alike, sound alike, think alike and also act alike. It sounds great for a moment but is not healthy nor is it biblical. Unity does not come from the outside. Unity certainly does not come from outside pressure. Unity comes from within. From deep within.
Even though we are believers we will never see eye to eye on everything. We come from different families, we have different habits, different backgrounds; different education. Turn to the person next you and tell them hey, you’re different. Because we are. And that’s a good thing. But here’s this question again. How do we find unity when we are surrounded by so much difference? The key to this is finding harmony. Write this down. Harmony does not exist because everyone is the same. Harmony actually exists because everyone is different. Stay with me. You see we think of harmony means sameness. When three singers get together and they sing in harmony did you know they don’t all sing the same note? They sing three different notes. They sing the three notes of a chord. All different. But beautiful together. Let me show you what I mean.