Unity isn’t the same as Conformity

Deuteronomy 33 lays out how the Lord will bless the different tribes of Israel. For one tribe, they are given strength to battle (Judah),  while another is held close and safe from battle (Benjamin). One tribe is called to great sacrifice, self denial and service (Levi), while another is freely blessed with the best gifts of the earth (Joseph).

Just like then,  the Lord has different callings and purposes for His children now. When we see someone fulfilling their ministry in a different way than we are called and led, our natural reaction is to be confused or uncomfortable if we expect “conformity” instead of seeking “unity”.

Unity is “the state of being united or joined a a whole”. Unity is a body of individual and unique pieces working together because they have been joined. Conformity is an attempt for one unique thing to imitate or copy a different unique thing in order to “fit in”.

Christianity calls for unity between men (love, mercy, forgiveness, service),  while religion calls for conformity of men to one another (law, authority, power, judgement). Christianity calls for all its participants to be unified as a body fitly working together – not being conformed to the ways of this world but renewed and reconciled to Christ.

How easy is it for us to conform to the traditions of man made doctrines and traditions, measuring each other with our religious tape measures, dividing each other into sorted categories and denominations where we are satisfied being a round peg laying still and quiet in a pile of other round pegs – instead of working together with those other pays to accomplish God’s work.

You who are warriors like Judah need a Benjamin to bring you back to peace before you strike down your stumbling brother or sister with your strict discernment and hatred for sin, forgetting that the enemy is not flesh and blood.

You who are coddled like Benjamin and are afraid to leave the house or step out in faith need a Judah to warn you of the dangers of becoming lukewarm, complacent, and fruitless – so that you do not find out that your faith without works is dead.

You see, the message that we like to hear least is mammy times the message that we need to hear most – because it isn’t about what you like. It is about what will glorify and bring honor to the Lord. That’s why it is dangerous to seek out teachers who only share what you want to hear. If there is no conviction, if there is no sharpening, if the Word of God does not cut something out of your flesh nature to make room for healing and restoration with the Holy Spirit nature of Christ who lives in us – then is there any growth,  any change, any life?

The people most comfortable hearing and talking about grace are many times the ones who need to be convicted by a message of repentance, discipleship,  and holiness.

The people most comfortable hearing about repentance, discipleship, and holiness ate many times the ones who need to be reminded of the free gift of grace and their own unworthiness, there need to be broken and not haughty.

Don’t remain satisfied ignoring the parts of the message that make you uncomfortable and force you to dig deep into the heart. A life still in slavery to sin is not free and neither is a religious person going to build a tower to heaven out of their own works. Seek that narrow path where Christ is your only hope for grace and He is Lord of your life because of your grattitude over this undeserved, free gift of grace.

That person whose message gets under your skin, or steps on your toes, or bothers your way of thinking might be exactly the message your heart needs to hear.

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