“But we have the mind of Christ,” 1 Corinthians 2:16.
Note here that the apostle said “we“ have the mind of Christ, not “I.” No one person can have the whole mind of Christ, but each of us has been given a part. Therefore we must come together in unity to have His complete mind. The degree to which we are connected in fellowship with the rest of His church is the degree that we will have His whole council. Unity is not an ideal, it is essential if we are to have the whole truth or walk in the whole council of God. This is why Jesus prayed for His people to be, “perfected in unity,” John 17:23.
Several years ago it became popular to recognize and try to get free of what has been called “codependence.” This is an unhealthy attachment to another person, or group, in which our own personality is swallowed up in the identity of another. This can be done with a spouse, friend, boss, parent, child, or groups such as clubs, associations, etc. We can also have an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship with the church. Cults are usually composed of co-dependent people who are seeking their own identity through the group. Domineering leaders, who are decisive and seem to know where they are going, attract weak, codependent people.
The point has been rightly made that to get free from our tendency toward co-dependency, we must go through a period of independence when we can really find out who we are. This is true, but we must not stop there. The highest attainment is not independence, but inter-dependence. In fact, we cannot fully know our own identities until we are properly related to other people.
Co-dependence is not true unity; it is dominance of the weak by the strong. We each need to have a period in our lives when we seek our own gifts and callings and become secure in who we are and what we have been called to do. Only then is true unity possible. Unity is not the melding together of people so that personal identity is lost; it is the recognition and working together of the different and unique parts of the body so that it functions as a unit.
For my body to function properly, my heart cannot ever try to become a lung. My heart needs the lungs, kidneys, liver, and blood vessels to function correctly, but it must not ever try to be anything but a heart. I can have five of the healthiest hearts in the world, but if they are not attached to at least one good lung, then those hearts are going to die. The Lord has composed His body, the church, in the same way. It is supposed to be many different, unique parts that know their identities, but also know their place in the whole.
I have asked a number of large groups of Christians in churches and conferences how many knew their calling or ministry in the body of Christ. Most of the time the response is less than 5%. The highest it has ever been is about 20%. How well could you live if only 5% of your body was functioning, or even 20%? This is the state of the body of Christ. We are in need of unity, but we must first go through the stage where each member of the body comes to know their place and purpose in the body.
I have contended for years that there is a need for different denominations and movements within the church. Because the members of the body have not graduated from the “independence” stage of maturity in which identity is fundamentally established, we need to stay there until it is. However, we have been there for centuries now. It is time to get the job completed and press on toward the ultimate fulfillment that can only be found in inter-dependence with the rest of the church.
A heart “knows” that it is a heart and not a lung because it recognizes the place of the lung, and works together with it. Even though we need to go through the independent stage, we will not fully know who we are and our place until we are firmly established in inter-dependence. All true New Testament ministry is a team of different parts that function together as a unit. Barnabas had to go and find Saul (who later became Paul), and then both of them had to get in the right place (Antioch) before they could be released into their own ultimate callings as apostles. In the same way, we too must seek out those who we are called to be joined with in the Lord before we can be released into our ultimate purpose.
I have heard an alarming number of Christians say that they love the Lord but they just do not like the church. As John wrote, this is not possible. We do not really love the Lord if we do not love His people. The Lord Himself said that as we treat the least of His people it is counted as the way that we treat Him. We do not have to love the state that the church is in, but we must love His church. If we do not, we will never be useful in helping her attain her purpose, which can only be accomplished as we come into unity.
The Scriptures are clear that the church will attain unity before the end comes. The Lord’s Prayer will be answered and we will be perfected in unity. Let us all determine that we will be a part of helping this come to pass, and not a stumbling block to it.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|