June 19, 2024

The Power of Unity

Addison Bevere

Guest Devotional

We’re big fans of the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, and why shouldn’t we be? It’s Paul’s famous love chapter, the one quoted at weddings and found in greeting cards. In these thirteen verses, Paul employs some of his most beautiful prose and vivid imagery, and we love him for it.

But there’s a part of 1 Corinthians 13 that goes largely unquoted. It’s the bit in verse 9 about us knowing and prophesying in part. We prefer to think of ourselves as people who know and prophesy in full, especially in political or religious matters. And we’ll fight tooth and nail to prove just how much we know.

Could it be, though, that the only way to know and experience the transcendent power of love is to believe verse nine—that we know in part? Maybe the humility that comes with understanding that we know in part opens us to the power of love, unity, and truth.

Paul goes on to write that only squabbling children believe they know in full. But as adults, we must give up childish things, knowing that we now see in a mirror dimly. In other words, we don’t see ourselves or situations the way they are. We see them as we are.

This love chapter comes on the heels of Paul explaining the different parts of the body, and how it takes a whole body to reveal a whole Christ. We need each other. Our different strengths, emphases, locals, preferences, etc. There is no unity without the dignity of difference. God’s ways are higher than ours but as we come together as one body, the eyes of our hearts are enlightened in the company of the Saints (Eph. 1:18, 4:1–7).

I’m not suggesting that truth is subjective nor am I suggesting that we abandon convictions. But we should be people who welcome the unifying grace that comes with confident humility. We can be confident that Truth emanates from God and is revealed through Scripture. And we can be humble because we are not God and are therefore very much still in progress, dependent on the tutelage of the Spirit.

Take a quick inventory of your experience with people who “know everything.” They’re some of the most unloving and divisive people, right? Have you been that person before? (I know I have.) Wherever today finds you, I encourage to take a moment to pray these words with me
. . .
Dear God, give us eyes to see each other the way you see us. Spirit of truth, guide us into all truth, help us rest in the assurance that one day we will know fully as we are fully known. In the meantime, teach us the ways of heaven, may we be people who are unified in faith, hope, and love . . . may we be souls secure in our partial understanding, knowing that we rest in the arms of Truth. May your Spirit transform us into the image of your Son. Amen.

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