During a conference, believers in Jesus discussed differing perspectives on the relationship between Scripture and science. Although we disagreed about important matters, it was obvious the participants on all sides loved Jesus. We didn’t let our differences disguise our bond as members of God’s family. In fact, our unity seemed even sweeter because it shone within our differences.
As Jewish pilgrims walked up to Jerusalem to celebrate one of three annual festivals, they sang of this type of unity: “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” It “is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe” (Psalm 133:1-2). If this happened to me, I’d reach for some shampoo, but an Israelite would have understood. Aromatic oil was used to authorize and empower God’s prophets, priests, and kings. It was a tangible sign the leaders belonged to Him.
Pouring oil on someone’s head isn’t a common practice these days, but the unity it symbolized still authorizes and energizes us. Unity also refreshes, like the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the arid hills of Jerusalem (Psalm 133:3). Most significantly, Jesus said that when believers are united in love, the “world will know” that God loves them as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23).
Thank God for like-minded believers who agree with us on disputable matters. But thank Him also for brothers and sisters who see things differently. They not only keep us seeking the Scriptures, but our differences supply an opportunity to rally around Jesus. How “wonderful and pleasant” it is to place our focus on Him!
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Timothy 1:1-18
Read Ephesians 5:1-14. How does belonging to the family of God change how we live?
Think of one believer with whom you struggle to get along. Pray for him or her. What else can you do to promote unity with others in Christ?