The Difficult Sacrifice of Like-Mindedness
There are few things that all people across the political and social spectrum can agree on. But these days, we all agree that we can’t agree. We all suffer from ‘outrage fatigue’ and the divisions in our world seem more immovable than ever before. Civil discourse is neither civil nor discourse.
Agreement in the Church?
It seems that even in the church we can lose the ability to speak to each other in ways that promote unity. Of course, disunity and discontentment are not new in the church. In the first century, Paul wrote to the church in the city of Corinth, saying, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree” (1 Cor 1.10). Talk about radical! Paul actually thought that agreement in the church was possible. He thought Christians could be ‘like-minded’. I guess he hadn’t seen too many Baptist business meetings or Presbyterian policy committees.
A Key Aspiration
But there is a key here that we can’t miss. Paul had a goal for a local church to aspire to. The goal was to be “united in the same mind and the same judgement”. For all of our laments about divisions and outrage and tribes and factions, few of us are really serious about being ‘united’ with others in these ways. We’re not serious about it because it isn’t easy to do. In fact, it requires sacrifice.
Every Change is a Sacrifice
To be united means we must relinquish certain earthly priorities and limit them to secondaries. To be united means we must elevate to higher significance some biblical priorities that haven’t been very important to us. To be united in mind and judgment requires us to change. Every change is a small, but intentional death for a higher purpose. Every change is a sacrifice.
As we all seek to grow to be united in the same mind and the same judgement, we need to be prepared to offer our lives to Christ as living sacrifices (Rom 12.1). That means sacrificing our preferences and priorities, as well as our non-priorities and abdications. We will have to sacrifice some things that are long held opinions and sacrifice some other things that are habitual responses.
A Captivating Contrast
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see churches that were characterized by this consciously self-sacrificing pursuit of like-mindedness? Wouldn’t the combination of humility and resolve in that type of unity present a captivating contrast to the wider culture?
I think it would. But the only way this captivating contrast is possible, is through Jesus Christ. As Christians seek their identity in the person and work of Jesus, God the Son, they will sacrifice all other competing identities in favour of that union with him. Christians can be united, both with Christ and with each other.
Pursuing like-mindedness is possible. We can aspire to this biblical unity -- even sacrificing ourselves for it.
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