Sheer volume alone dictates that we spend more time discussing the writings of Paul over any other New Testament author. However, currently I’m reading through the book of 1st Peter, and though small in page count, Peter’s words are packed with meaning.
For instance, 1st Peter was written to a mixture of Jews and Gentiles scattered throughout Asia Minor who had come to faith in Christ. It was not written to one particular church comprised of very similar people. Yet to such diverse people, Peter wrote:
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8, ESV)
What did Peter want for this scattered, diverse group? Unity. Specifically, he wanted them to live harmoniously by being like-minded. Peter then gave a list of qualities that would help the followers of Christ reach the goal of harmonious living. We could spend a lot of time on each of these qualities (and perhaps one day we will), but for now, we’ll just list them.
Unity among God’s children – worldwide and local – is achieved when each person is sympathetic toward others, filled with love for their neighbor, maintains a tender heart, and remains humble. In other words, when we think less frequently about ourselves, and focus more on the needs of others, unity in Christ is maintained.
Read the verse above again slowly. Pause for a moment on each ‘unifier’ – sympathy…brotherly love…tender heart…humble mind. Do these unifying qualities describe you? Which one(s) will you ask God to help you grown in this week? –Dave
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