The Power of One

2008-07-19-028aOne is not the loneliest  number.  It’s a number that stands for strength and confidence.  It’s a number that gives substance to the gifts God has endowed within each and every one of us.  One, however, should never be singled out as a tiny island, cut off from the world in isolation.  One always functions best within community.

There is confusion over the concept of independence.  We love the fact that we are individuals and able to function independently.  We love that we are in control of “me.”  However, when separated from community, One indeed is the loneliest number.  The Body of Christ was not meant to be separated and fragmented as it is today.  One day, we will once again experience the collective unity of being One (in Christ) for eternity.  I look forward to that day.

Many times, our oneness is divisive.  It tears apart at the body of Christ, shredding it into pathetic representations of the what the body should appear to be.  This in turn damages our witness for Christ…it damages the witness of the collective church.  We were warned about  this.  1 Peter 3:8 tells us that we should have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

However, many times our oneness can serve an important function in the body.  It can enable our gifts to be freed for service and discernment.  More importantly, it can serve to remind the body of God’s truth when the body is led astray by errors in doctrine and the wiles of teachers who no longer represent the true faith. That’s something we don’t like to talk about today, yet it is essential, because error abounds in the contemporary church.  One has only to turn on the TV to hear gleeful commentary about the next fallen Christian in a stream of constantly falling Christians.  Our witness is valuable and error/ego taints this witness.  We all fail because our nature is sinful.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can listen to God’s ways and desire to forsake our own ways.

Ephesians 4:11-16 reminds us that God gave us shepherds and teachers to equip those of us called into His service.  They are to build up the body of Christ until we attain the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to the stature of the fullness of Christ so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way unto Him who is the head….into Christ, so that the whole body builds itself in love. He also warned us in Ephesians 5:6-11 to let no one, even teacher, deceive you with empty words…reminding us not to take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

These are powerful words.  Our oneness can come in handy if used in humility and truth.  The power of one is that it compels those gifted to speak out for the glory of God, asking them to press on to walk in such a way worthy of our calling–those who are called.  Ephesians 4:1-6 urges us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace because there is one body and one Spirit, on Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. It is essential that we remember:  we are a collective One as well as an individualistic one.

n788883298_155093_318Father, may we understand the importance of protecting your Word — of protecting your church from error–of being bold enough to stand out as one when necessary and submitting to the whole One as required.  May we, in all humility, serve you with our giftedness with generosity and love that only You show us.  Remind us that it is not of ourselves that we give and serve, but that it is You working within us, allowing us to overcome our sinful nature and be your hands and feet to the world.  Father, help us to use our Oneness for your glory, serving those whom You love.

Need a way to show the Power of One in your life?  Check it out.

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