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We need one another

With the weather finally starting to turn cooler, some birds, longing for warmer climates, may start flying south for the winter.  You may even see a gaggle of geese flying south in their patented “V” formation.  Do you know why they fly that way?  There are lots of reasons, I’m told.  But one major reason is that when they fly in a unified, “V” formation, then they can travel 70% farther than if they were flying in a random, disunited pattern.  Their unified “V” helps each bird expend less energy by providing lift and wind resistance.  For geese, unity and harmony matters!

The same is true for us.  When we are flying in unison in our relationships, life works so much better… there is less resistance, more “lift” and far less wasted energy!  We need one another, which is why the Bible has so much to teach say about unity, especially among Believers in the local church.  In fact, I believe that much of the New Testament was written to help protect and preserve the unity of the New Testament Church!  When Believers are fully united, we will be a force in this world; we will make an impression and leave a mark for Jesus Christ.  But if we are divided, bickering or back-stabbing, we can’t possibly be effective in our vision and mission for Christ’s sake.   

The same is true in your life; when there is disunity or disharmony in your vital relationships, it is hard to get much done.  In fact, life will be chaotic, confusing and depressing.  No one wants relationships like that!  We want to live in harmony and peace!  So how do we get there?

Strive to be like-minded in high regard of one another.   16 Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  Romans 12:16.

To sing in harmony is to sing common, complementing notes.  We know what a good harmony sounds like; it is really pleasing to the ears.  A bad harmony is not.  To live in harmony with one another, is to have to have common, complementing thoughts and actions toward one another.  What does that look practically?  We have actually been learning about that for the past 7 weeks…  To live in harmony is to think about and apply the dozens of “one another” commands of the New Testament, all anchored in Jesus’ command to “love one another.”  (John 13:33-34) 

When we are thinking about and applying these vital commands to love one another, encourage one another, build one anther up, honor one another and spur one another on, we will live in peace and harmony with one another and life will be pleasing!   That is true in your church, in your marriage, in your family, in your friendships, and in your workplace.

Do you know what causes disharmony in relationships?  Pride!  Which is why Paul tells us in Romans 12:16, “Do not be proud.”   He also taught,  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  Philippians 2:3.   Selfish ambition leads to strife and division.  It is the idea of “pushing for your own way”.  But Paul provides the silver bullet for pride… humility.

Humility was a word coined by Paul to describe the character of Christ and those who follow Him.   It is the idea of “lowliness of mind” or being made low.  It is about thinking of others above ourselves.  Prideful people step on others to elevate themselves… Humble people lift others up to elevate themIf you want your relationships to be harmonious, push pride aside and be humble.  (Gal. 5:13; 1 Peter 1:5)

Adopt these Hallmarks of Harmony in your relationships…

1)  Stay in step with the Holy Spirit.  25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:25.  As Believers, we are expected to stay in step with the Holy Spirit… that takes commitment, awareness, intention.  When we are led by the Spirit instead of the flesh, our relationships can be harmonious and united. 

2)  Choose praise over provocation.   26 Let us not become conceited, provoking… each other.  Galatians 5:26. In the church in Galatia, there were some who were seemingly stronger or more mature in their faith who were actually taunting or provoking those who were weaker or immature in their faith.  That kind of spirit was causing resentment and disharmony.  

Find areas where people are succeeding and commend them - offer them praise.  When we are more focused on pointing out where people “don’t measure up”, we will not experience unity in that relationship.  Are you offering praise to your spouse, your children, your parents, your co-workers, your fellow believers?  Choose praise over provocation.

3)  Choose inspiration over envy.  26 Let us not become conceited, …envying each other.  Galatians 5:26.  As you might imagine, those in the Galatian church who were “weaker” in the faith were feeling envious toward those who were “stronger.”  Envy is a reaction to lacking something that another person possesses.  It is the distress or resentment we feel when others have what we don’t!   

You can look at what another has and be envious toward them, or you could look at what a person has and be inspired by them… inspired to behave or achieve or succeed in the way they have.  Envy leads to resentment and despair.   Inspiration leads to life-change!  (Prov. 14:30; James 3:14-16; 1 Cor. 13:4) 

4)  Choose kindness over criticism.  11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it.  James 4:11

There are typically two forms of “speaking against”:  Slander - speaking evil with the addition of lies and gossip - speaking behind another’s back to cause them harm or to hurt them.  Gossip is different than slander in that it may be true, but the truth is being used to hurt them or to puff ourselves up.  Speaking against someone in these ways creates division and disharmony.  Both are sinful.  Instead, choose a fruit of the Spirit, kindness. (Eph. 4:32; 1 Cor. 13:4). 


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