“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.”
The Christian faith is deeply and powerfully relational. When we are called into relationship with Jesus, we are also called into relationship with other Christians. We are called to community.
How we interact with each other in the Christian community is critically important. This is made abundantly clear with how often scripture gives us “one another” commands. The word for “one another” in the Greek is allelon, and it is used 100 times in the New Testament. The following verses are just a few of the “one another” passages:
“Love one another.” (John 13.34).
“Through love, serve one another.” (Galatians 5.13).
“Bear with one another and forgive one another.” (Colossians 3.13).
“Don’t complain against one another.” (James 4.11).
“Confess sins to one another.” (James 5.16).
“Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil.” (1 Thess 5.15).
“Be of the same mind with one another.” (Romans 12.16)
“Bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6.2)
“Encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thess 5.11)
“Speak truth to one another.” (Ephesians 4.25)
“Pray for one another.” (James 5.16)
Note that all of these verses are commands. They are things we are directed to do. They are the “how” of achieving unity and alignment. I encourage you to re-read these scriptures and notice that the old nature does not want to do these things. The old nature does not want to love, forgive, serve, bear burdens, encourage, speak truth, pray, etc..
This is because the old nature is self-oriented, not others-oriented.
The Christian community must be more disciplined about unity. We must fight against the impulses of the old nature and work harder at alignment and collaboration. These “one another” actions are disciplines that must be learned. They aren’t easy, and they are most important when we don’t feel like doing them.
We will not have unity and alignment in the Christian community until we walk in obedience to the “one another” commands of scripture.
The Lord is calling.