Devotions based on James Smith’s book, The Good and Beautiful Community

Christ within us is the bond of our unity. “Though we may differ on the outside, we are people indwelt by Christ and therefore we, who differ in externals, become one because of who we are internally.” As it says in I Cor. 10:16-17, We who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Communion is a visible demonstration of how we are united in the body and blood of Jesus. We belong to one another and our differences are not a hindrance but a welcome part of the Body.  Paul says we should be of one mind and united in our thinking, living in peace.   That doesn’t mean we have to let go of our ideas, opinions or doctrines. We will never agree on everything but we can and must agree on one thing: Jesus is Lord. So let us make a distinction between essentials and nonessentials and to find ways to love one another when our nonessentials differ. Love and commitment to Jesus is essential, as well as, basic teaching found in the creeds but so many other things are nonessentials. Not that they are unimportant but they should not divide us. John Wesley offered 5 ways to show love to those whom we differ in the nonessentials. 1. Treat them as companions. 2. Do not think or speak evil of them. 3. Pray for them. 4 Encourage them to do good. 5. Collaborate with them in ministry. 
Let us pray for the unity of the church and join hands with those whose hearts beat I love for Him!