One of the core messages in the New Testament to the church is the need for believers to prioritize unity and treat it as sacred. That is why the Apostle Paul’s message to the church in 1 Corinthians 12 about how we are one body in Christ is crucial.
God understands diversity, as seen in the different gifts He has given to His children. However, He has united us all, whether Jew or Gentile, White or Black, Old or Young, by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). We have become one body in Christ, working towards the same goal and purpose: expanding God’s kingdom on earth.
But the devil is against the church. His mission is to ensure God’s purpose isn’t fulfilled. Therefore, he focuses on causing confusion and disunity among God’s elect.
The enemy dreads a united church because he understands the power of unity stated expressly in Deuteronomy 32:30, “one man will chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight.” He had seen just Paul and Silas cause an earthquake, open prison doors, and set captives free through united worship and prayer of agreement. So, he would go to any length to ensure believers are disunited
However, many believers do not know how the enemy operates, using the weapon of division to cause confusion, strife, disunity, jealousy, etc., among brethren. There are signs to watch out for to know when disunity is brewing in the church. Let’s consider some of the ways the enemy uses division as a tactic against believers.
One vile attitude that breeds division is pride. The feeling of being better than a fellow believer or leader in the church. This can cause strife, rebellion, and confusion. God hates pride because of its destructive nature (Proverbs 11:2). However, the devil uses it as a weapon to cause division in the body of Christ. The Bible records how Miriam and Aaron stood against their younger brother Moses because he married an Ethiopian woman. Yet, a closer examination of their comments indicated that they saw themselves as being on the same level as Moses, and he wasn’t special in any way. In Numbers 12:2, they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” God intervened by striking Miriam with leprosy to restore order among His people. When you begin to feel more important than the next person, rebuke the spirit of pride because the enemy is at work.
James 3:16 says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” A selfish person seeks only their good and not that of others. They are opportunists and not kingdom-minded. Most importantly, they love only themselves.
God has commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Not living according to this command means we lack the love of Christ in us, and we are living in disobedience. Unity cannot exist where there is no love. Also, the absence of love signifies the devil’s presence because God is love. Therefore, you must be cautious when you begin seeing traces of selfishness in your life because the enemy is at work. He is trying to make you focus on your own needs while ignoring the needs of others. When we cannot come together like the early church and pool our resources to advance the work of God, division has set in.
One tool the enemy uses to cause division in the church is hypocrisy, ignoring the plank in your eye while focusing on the speck in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5). The reality of our relationship with God is that we are imperfect, but God loves us despite our imperfections. We will always fall in our journey with Christ. However, God expects us to work on our weaknesses and put in efforts to achieve perfection as the Holy Spirit helps and enables us (Philippians 3:12-14).
Ignoring our shortcomings and focusing on the areas people are struggling with to criticize and judge them is a sign that the enemy is trying to stir up division using you. As believers, we have the responsibility to help ourselves grow spiritually. We must be burden bearers and sources of encouragement to one another. A person who is continuously insulted or called out may become ashamed and furious and will eventually leave the church. This is the enemy’s plan; we must stop him.
Philippians 2:14 admonishes us to “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Grumbling and complaining were the enemy’s tools to hinder the Israelites from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 14:23). Because of these attitudes, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years instead of journeying for only forty days. Besides causing division among believers, grumbling and complaining attract God’s punishment because it’s a sign of ingratitude. They hinder our progress and stop us from achieving our goals. Resist the devil when you find yourself complaining and grumbling. He is trying to cause a division between you and other Christians and sever your relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit is the unifier. He binds us together to become one irrespective of our differences (1 Corinthians 12:13). We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us. However, we must be pure and holy to become a suitable home for Him. One of the main sins that pollute our hearts and make them unfit for the Holy Spirit to live in are sexual sins like fornication, lust, etc. Lust begins in the heart and metamorphoses into acts that consume us and destroy our relationship with God.
Lust affects our ability to unite with fellow believers because it drives away the Holy Spirit, who baptizes us into one body. Lust can lead to other sexual sins like rape, adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, etc.
Therefore, we must flee sexual immorality by all means. We must be mindful of what we look at, listen to, and think in our minds to prevent the enemy from invading our lives and wreaking havoc on our relationship with God.