Psalms 131 & 133 – Day 1

The Beauty of Unity.

“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers lives together in harmony!” – Psalm 133:1 NLT

These two Psalms are also Songs of Ascent, a collection of Psalms that were sung as pilgrims made their annual journey to Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover. Psalm 131 places the emphasis on the individual. In it, David expresses his humility. He doesn’t think too highly of himself. He refuses to think of himself as too smart for his own good or better than anyone else – in spite of the fact that he is the king. In Psalm 133, he turns his attention to the communal aspect of his faith. He recognizes that he is part of a collection of individuals who together make up the family of God. But it is about more than community, it is about harmony and unity. This is to be true of the church as well. In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul writes, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:1-5 NLT). He then goes on to describe the attitude that Christ had: One of humility, service, sacrifice, love, and obedience. Paul says that we are to have this same mindset. We are to pursue unity through humility.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul stresses the same idea: “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3 NLT). There it is again. Humility. Unity. Oneness. Paul saw the wisdom in what David had written hundreds of years earlier. It truly is wonderful and pleasant when brothers live together in harmony. And because of what Christ accomplished on the cross and due to the  influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the capacity to love as no one has ever loved before. We have the mind of Christ and can love as He loved, sacrifice as He did, humble ourselves in the same way He did, and give our lives away in selfless service to others. Especially within the context of the body of Christ.

Before He went to His death on the cross, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35 NLT). Jesus commanded His followers to love one another. That would be the distinctive characteristic that we belonged to Him. It would prove our relationship with Him. It is amazing how much emphasis we put on the Great Commission, feeling the need to go out into the world and make disciples. But we rarely, if ever, talk about this command from the lips of Jesus. He is calling us to love for one another – within the body of Christ, the church. He is commanding us to love as He loved – to the point of death. But is that really happening. Does the world know we are His disciples because of our selfless love for one another, or because of our acts of charity, our generosity, our missions endeavors, our ability to share the Gospel, or our organization effectiveness. Are the lost attracted to our love for one another? Do they see in us something they can’t see anywhere else in the world? Christ has given us the capacity to love and be loved. He has created a new thing called the church, the family of God. In it, we are to live out the character of Christ in the context of community. What good is it to express our love for the lost when we have a hard time loving one another? How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in harmony!

Father, as the church, we have failed to obey the command of Your own Son. We do not love one another as He has called us to love. We can be petty, selfish, divisive, competitive, and mean. We can attempt to do great things for Your kingdom while we refuse to love one another as we have been loved by You. Open our eyes and help us to understand that the church is a noun, not a verb. We are Your people. We are to live as such. We are Your children. We are to get along. We present You in the world. But if we can’t love one another, the Good News loses some of its power. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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