People across the country gather this Thursday for a National Day of Prayer. They plan to pray for our nation. The theme for this year is Unity.
Founders & Foundations
Benjamin Franklin famously stated: We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
In our nation divided, we are well advised to think about these things.
E Pluribus Unum – Out of many, one – is our nation’s first motto. Founding giants like Franklin, Adams and Jefferson proposed this standard of truth in 1776. A maxim, officially expressing a sense of national unity. You still find these wise words today on our treaties, our currency, and the Great Seal of the United States. Out of many, one.
Yet, today, division runs deep in our nation. So deep that many tried to keep our nation’s other official motto. In God we Trust, off the wall of the visitor center at our nation’s Capitol.
Out of many, one. This wisdom understands the price a nation ultimately pays for promoting personal autonomy and personal identity above a unity grounded in truth where you love your neighbors as you love yourself.
As the National Day of Prayer for Unity Approaches, Why are we Divided?
Let’s see how God answers the question of why we are so divided.
In James 4:1-4
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
What Does God Say about Unity?
In Ephesians 4:1-6
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
In James 4:5-12
5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
In Phil 1-27-30 and 2:1-4
27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
God’s wants his people united. And his ancient tenets clearly show why we continue to divisively quarrel and fight. His truth points each of us toward an answer that can unite us – if we make him our Lord as well as our Savior.
As we come together Thursday to pray for unity in our nation, let us remember that “out of many, one”, only works when, “In God we trust.”