The English poet John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent a part of the main.” (Meditation XVII) Perhaps nowhere is this statement more applicable and yet more rejected than in the body of Christ. Repeatedly throughout the Scriptures the command for unity is heralded because from the very dawn of time division has been at the forefront of the Devil’s agenda. From dividing the angels in his rebellion to dividing Adam and Eve from God; from dividing Cain from Able to dividing Judas from Jesus, division is one of the favorite tools of Satan.
The devil is not stupid. He understands the power of unity as well as the weakness of the individual. From its core division springs forth into two prongs; self and pride. Division is almost always the result of individuals seeking a personal agenda rather than a corporate vision. The selfish desire of the individual, rooted in a pride that says, “I know best”, undermines and limits the ability of the corporate group to collectively share their strengths and accomplish their calling.
The man who attempts to function as an island is equivalent to the fool Solomon testifies of in Proverbs 18:1-2. He declares,”A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” Whether it is in the Body of Christ, a Fortune 500 company, or a marriage the two-pronged fork of division will always hinder the effectiveness of our corporate calling and most often leave the “island individual” lost at sea, empty, alone and above all unfruitful.
Almost every division could be avoided, and the very work of Satan could be thwarted if every individual would embrace their place in the main and choose to be knit together in love. It was individually that Eve was deceived. It was individually that Cain slew Abel. It was individually that Judas betrayed Jesus. The individual carnal rationale was never meant to produce life. In fact Solomon repeatedly admonished, “There is a way that seems right to a man but it’s and is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). While the way of the individual man leads to death, Solomon also taught that there is wisdom, safety and life in the multitude of counselors. “Where there is no counsel the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14)
When individuals refuse to embrace being knit together in love not only is the corporate body weekend, but the lone individual becomes easy prey. Without the sharpening of countenance that comes through relationship a dullness of perspective and a warping of reality becomes embedded in the individual mind. The barren ground of a dull, warped mind can only sustain the poisoned seeds of bitterness. While the individual may reject being knit together with others the seed of bitterness buried in the solitary mind festers and seeks companionship in the corporate body. The individual may desire solitude, but the seed of bitterness gives way to a root of bitterness which has a sole desire to inhabit and defile many.
The writer of Hebrews warns us to, “Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)
The only way to keep yourself from being an agent of offense is to embrace being knit together in love. We must covenant to love. We must abandon the prerogative to quit. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to our outer man, but ultimately it yields safety peace and life. 1Corinthians 13:8 explains that love is the one thing that never fails, so why not embrace the success? Choose to embrace being knit together in love. In the end you’ll be glad you did!