October 1, 2019
By Rodney Kirkpatrick
Psalm 133:1-3 NASB
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes.  It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing-life forever.
This dramatic word picture captures the heart expressed by many of The Bible’s authors. In addition to King David, The Apostle Paul spoke of this idea with great passion (see Romans 12:10, Ephesians 4:1-3, etc.) & The Apostle Peter also agreed (1 Pet 1:22, 2 Pet 1:7, etc). Jesus made one of His most profound statements of cause and effect on this very subject in John 13:34-35 NASB which says,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Even a quick study of these verses produces a clear connection between love and unity. One of the reasons for this is that there can be no unity, in the sense that God desires, without the love that comes from God. God’s Love defers to a brother, forgives trespasses, lacks selfish motives and thereby contributes to a spiritual togetherness that can’t come about any other way. I have spent many years in a huge variety of contexts searching for tangible manifestations of spiritual unity only to find that, even among mature, seasoned Christians, it is exceedingly rare.
Most of the isolation spoken of in the previous blog, (click here to read), began to improve significantly after I was invited to attend a weekly men’s meeting in our local area of Ballito. The group was small but had people from very diverse Christian Backgrounds. Out of the initial gathering of fifteen men, there were two or three vocational ministers (including me) and the rest were made of businessmen from many of the different churches in the area. My attendance of the meeting was met with an almost immediate challenge because of a prejudice some of the men had toward the USA. Though no one knew me, I was typecast immediately in a way that put me off. I honestly left the first meeting thinking, “Why do I need to get up early for this?”
Trina encouraged me to give the meeting another chance and in hindsight this turned out to be a very important word from God. Before long, the meeting was a consistent source of spiritual life for everyone who attended. We prioritized testimony and dialogue which resulted in everyone getting both an opportunity to share and a true sense of encouragement from The Lord just for being present! My personal path went from feeling like an outcast to being asked to help lead the meeting on a regular basis. Our attendance grew dramatically and what was once a tiny men’s bible study is now considered a spiritual hub for the entire community.
The Friday gathering produced fruit beyond the experience of the meeting itself. Some of the guys nicknamed me “Texas Rod” and it became difficult to visit the grocery store or a restaurant in town without hearing someone call out to us in this fashion. We can also trace many of our closest personal friendships to an initial encounter at this meeting.
Remember, the many blessings we experienced through the men’s bible study almost didn’t happen! To regularly experience a Unity of The Spirit, self centeredness must be consistently avoided. Everyone involved has had to choose at one point or another to put aside their own agenda, thoughts or feelings and consider others & the whole as more important. The result of this over the years with the men in Ballito has been an awesome testimony of what is possible when Christians do defer to one another and follow the Holy Spirit together!