I was talking to my mom recently about unity. It’s a concept ingrained to our Christian faith, yet it is one of the biggest ways the enemy attacks our present day Christian community. I was thinking about it for a bit and what came to mind is that unity – really, love – is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And like every other fruit, we have to nurture and tend to it for it to actually keep bearing.
“We have to nurture and keep tending to the fruit of love, which begets unity, for us to see it manifesting in our lives.”
The Holy Spirit gave me this metaphor this week:
Nurturing – the word nurturing is key to a Christian person. If you leave a plant in a good environment (good soil, airy, etc), but don’t take the time each day to carefully and intentionally nurture it by giving it the different things it needs and wants (watering, pruning its leaves, adjusting the temperature of the environment, etc.), that plant will still die over time, despite the fact that it was placed in a good, airy environment.
So also, the Holy Spirit has placed the spirit of unity in us as His children, and to actually see it manifested in our daily lives, we HAVE to take the time to intentionally nurture it.
Intentional nurturing is KEY to the growing of our Christian faith. And in turn, very key, to living a life in unity and genuine community with other believers.
Of course this begs the question, how do I nurture love in my heart?
Below are a couple points I believe the Holy Spirit has guided me to. **To avoid superrr longgg post, I am going to just write the bible verses without quoting them in my post, but I will link what the bible verse says to each verse that I mention, so make sure to click each bible verse as you go for complete context.**
⁃ Intentional bible study
Joyce Meyer, preacher and avid advocate of living your best life to the fullest – look her up, you won’t regret it! – says something like this: If you struggle with an addiction, don’t spend your time looking up scriptures on prosperity or even just picking random passages to read. Rather, be specific in the passages you study, like in the case of an addiction, look up and persistently study areas in the bible that speak on freedom, discipline, etc. Remember, the word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, and it is MIGHTY to the pulling down of strongholds, [weaknesses, sins, bad habits, – insert personal struggles – etc.] (Hebrews 4:12-13). Same thing with unity, look up bible study plans that discuss loving your neighbor, living in peace, etc. Focus on learning more of God’s nature and know for a fact that His word is powerful to change you from the inside to the out, and to keep you from falling into sinful quarrels and disputes. 2 Timothy 2:14-16.
“Our Christian faith requires sacrifices from us, and only love allows us to make these sacrifices – to the glory of God.”
⁃ Be more observant
When it comes to dealing with people, it’s easy to just blurt out the first few things that come to our mind. But if we start making it a habit to stop and think, we give room for the Holy Spirit to speak to us and act through us in certain moments. James 1: 19 – 25 – by the way, how about verse 21?? something about the last line, “humbly accept the word which has been planted in you, which can save you” resonates with me. Take a few minutes to think on these words and see what the Holy Spirit might be speaking to you about it.
⁃ Be empathetic
To live in unity, learn to put yourself in the shoes of another. Our human self is instinctively selfish. Very very selfish. Our flesh naturally looks out for itself. periodt. But making it a point to ask God every second of every moment in our day to help us see beyond ourselves will continually grow us to be more compassionate and empathetic, allowing the fruit of God’s Love to grow in our hearts and manifest in our thoughts, words and actions. Luke 8:43-48; Luke 7:11 – 17 – In the story of the woman with constant bleeding, I am absolutely captured by how Jesus makes it a point to stop despite the throng of people all around, even His ability to understand what drove this woman to desperation to touch the hem of his garment. If you think of it, with a throng of sweaty, smelly people around #UpCloseAndPersonal, lol, Jesus could have very easily GONE OFF and angrily sought out who touched him, but His reaction is nothing short of compassion and selflessness. What if we incorporated this in our relation with others?
– Be on your guard
Keep in mind that Satan is an accuser of brethren. He is CONSTANTLY seeking to blame someone else in your eyes. When I start to get irritated by any and every thing or person, I know the enemy is trying to get me. I usually stop with a deep breath and denounce whatever the enemy’s plans are. I then continue on with caution – on my guard – to make sure I am aware of Satan accusing someone in my life. Sometimes I straight up repeat to myself, something in the lines of: “I have already forgiven them and [insert whatever wrong], i will not pay attention to how my flesh still feels about it.” “I won’t judge them (whoever I may be getting upset about) before God judges them.” [1 Cor 4:3-5] – it may help put things into context if when reading that passage, you replace “judge” with “accuse.”
– Forgive Yourself. Love Yourself.
I’ve heard some Christians say they don’t believe we are to love ourselves. They say we love Jesus and we love people, finish. They insinuate with their words and actions that we are to pay ourselves no attention, in an attempt to be selfless in our Christianity. I wholeheartedly disagree with this, and it sounds like self – righteousness to me, and this we have to abstain from (I will hopefully share more on this in a future post). Here is what I know, Jesus was not being ignorant when He said “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Mark 12:30-31; Leviticus 19:17-18. Frankly, loving yourself can be a blog series on it own. I know because it is an area i have had to work through and still intentionally work though in my walk with God. It is important to note though that we do not love our self as the world loves it own self. Rather, the love and grace that we extend to our self is that which we draw on from Christ. Note that to live as God created you to, you have to first accept His hand of Love that is always being extended to you – this right here is the love we are to have for ourselves. It is a Love that frees us completely to love our neighbors. I find that people who struggle with loving their self, also struggle with having a genuine love and happiness for their neighbor, hence, they also struggle with living in unity with them. In this case, I advice, going to God (via prayer, bible study, worship, accountability with another christian, etc.) to work through accepting His love completely, loving yourself, and even forgiving yourself, because sometimes we hold ourselves knowingly or unknowingly responsible for past mistakes and this stops us from loving ourselves wholly. 1 John 3:1.
Welppp, that’s all I have to share today folks. I thoroughly enjoyed God speaking to me about these as I thought about the many disagreements we often find among ourselves, especially in the church. I hope that you also thoroughly enjoy studying the post as well. I pray for God’s grace to help us all to diligently put His word into practice in our daily lives.
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