God used the terms “us” and “our” when He created man (Gen. 1:26), and rightly so. Scripture reveals that all the persons of the Trinity worked together to create image-bearers: God the Father is referenced throughout the creation account, the Holy Spirit is named in Genesis 1:2, and John 1 credits Jesus with all of creation. Jesus used the term “we” referring to Himself and the Father. He even went so far as to claim oneness with the Father (John 10:30). Then Jesus prayed His followers would live in oneness just as the Father and Son live in oneness (John 17:21). If we are truly image-bearers of the triune God, should oneness and unity not be stamped upon us? What change would our focus undergo if we, the Church, intentionally took hold of this concept? What changes would result from such a transformed focus? My husband calls me an idealist, and he may be right, but indulge me for a few minutes. Come and dream with me a bit about the possibilities of a mindset shift from “me,” to “we.” Because this ideal is God’s, and we should pursue what He says is ideal.
If life in the Church was “we” instead of “me,” shame would be reduced, because a “we” mindset would help us recognize that every believer is sinful, no one has it all together, and we all must deal with sin in the same way (Isaiah 53:6). Thinking in the plural would diminish our sense of shame, which is based in pride of wanting to be as good as or better than everyone else. Shame is often a by-product of comparison. We would lose our false impressions of other believers, knowing that each one of us has sins, obvious or not. The level ground at the foot of the cross should make “King of the Hill” difficult to play. There wouldn’t be much point in hiding sin and insecurity. Recognizing that we’re all in this together, and we’re all the same in our sinfulness and need for a Savior, would encourage transparency and result in improved spiritual health as we speak the truth to each other in love and humility.
Compassion for one another would grow as we realized that we are all in this together, and that no other believer is sinless or without hardship. Recognition of my own sinfulness and my struggle with sin, and my desire to be righteous should give me compassion for the very same struggle in my brothers and sisters in Christ (Col. 3:12). We would pray more for each other, forgiveness would flow into encouragement. A “we” perspective gets our focus off our own needs and onto the needs of others. Eventually, we would be thinking of others more than we think about ourselves. (Phil. 2:3-4). Generosity would become easier, and needs would be met (Acts 2:44).
Unity would abound if we quit seeing ourselves primarily as individuals, and instead as members of the same Body with the same trials and sins, the same forgiveness, the same Savior, the same purpose, the same future, and the same hope. We would be drawn together to help each other in the struggle against sickness, hardship, and sin. We would desire to pray for each other in the battle against sin and the effects of sin on each other, and on the Body as a whole (Eph. 6:18). We would work together for the same goal – to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:16-20). The need for competition would disappear as we ceased envying one another, and instead had a passion for the salvation of the nations and the health of the Church (James 4:1).
The stunning, irresistible beauty of God would be clearly visible to the world if we really did demonstrate His love and support and compassion for one another as living stones built together into the Family of God, Temple of God, the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ (Phil. 2:14-16). What an amazing community of which to be part and in which to thrive! What a glorious witness we would be to a watching world of what life in the Kingdom of God is like, because this is what God is like and we bear His image (2 Cor. 4:6, Rev. 21:22-27).
God would be glorified, and Christ would be pleased with our we, us, and our attitude, because this is His plan for the Church (Phil. 1:27). As any parent desires unity and love among their children, so God desires unity and love among His children. He created us with unity of heart and purpose in mind, and when we live as one family, one body, one living temple, we will discover just how very good God’s plan really is (Psalm 133).
So, how do we begin to effect such a seismic, vital shift? After all, this is is a tremendous change in the American Church. As always, the best place to start is on our knees. We can pray that God would give each of us and our church body His vision and concept of how we are to live as believers and serve our Savior in unity. The Scriptures referenced in this post might be a starting place for prayer and meditation. There is much more Scripture about oneness among God’s children, perhaps select some passages to pray through. For the next 30 days, try substituting the words “us,”” we,” and “our” for”” I,” “me,” and “my'” in reference to the Church. What might happen to your thinking, and to your heart? Thinking in terms of unity in plurality is changing my perspective on life and enlarging my heart for others. I would love to hear what it is doing in yours.
Grace and peace,
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” – Philippians 2:1-16 (ESV)