“…the saints together make a unity (totality of related parts) in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all come to unity (agreement) in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ Himself.” (The Jerusalem Bible; parenthesis mine)
Have you ever had problems getting along with people? Undoubtedly you have. We all have. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, nor does it mean there’s something wrong with the other person. It simply means we are all different. We have different tastes, styles, preferences, opinions, personalities, and the list goes on and on. With all these differences, it’s no wonder there are so many disagreements in the Body of Christ. Disagreements are not a problem. They are part of God’s plan for maturing and perfecting His children.
We become mature when we learn how to work together in unity with others. Unity doesn’t mean we always agree. Nor does it mean we ignore sin. No, we will often disagree on methods, ideas and minor issues. But, as long as we can agree on the most important issue, Christ, we can still operate in unity. Our agreement in Christ, Our Savior, gives us the power to stay in fellowship with other Christians in spite of disagreements. The process of working through differences is what makes us whole.
Everyone is born with inherent strengths and weaknesses. So if we work alone or independently of other Christians, we would actually be operating as an immature or incomplete Man (or Body of Christ). There would always be something lacking because of our lack of ability in that area. But, when we work with others, all weaknesses can be overcome because there is always someone who is strong where we are weak. It is our God-given differences and uniqueness that make us strong as the Body of Christ.
“For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.” (The Amplified Bible)
Remember, when we allow others to be different, we reap the benefits.
“Be humble and gentle in every way. Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other. Through the peace that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives.” (GOD’s WORD Translation)
God knows we will get on each other’s nerves; that’s why He encourages us to be patient. Dealing with people’s faults can be frustrating. However, God expects us to put up with their weaknesses so we gain the opportunity to benefit from their strengths. Patience is not optional; it’s required.