There is often a sweetness to receiving a hard truth. David calls rebuke from the godly “a kindness” and, according to the NLT, “sweet medicine” (Psalm 141:5). Paul’s benediction to the Church in Rome included some sweet medicine, indeed.
Sweet medicine like bearing with the weak and helping them grow, pleasing others and not ourselves, building up our neighbors, finding comfort in Scripture, and living in harmony as we glorify God with one voice.
So how do we harmonize? How do we build Christ’s Church? What does it look like to sing a harmony together in a world packed full of noisy, individualistic melodies?
In this same letter, Paul writes, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” (Romans 12:1). He then follows it with a series of instructions that I think paint a pretty good picture of what it takes to produce a harmony:
-Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves…
-Don’t just pretend to love others, really love them…take delight in honoring each other.
-Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
-Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
-When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
-Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all…
Looking at this list, it is clear that the key to the Christian harmony is HUMILITY.
We must be crucified with Christ, no longer living for our own rights, but laying them down for our brother or sister. No longer judging others, but instead rightly judging ourselves. No longer thinking of ourselves as wise, but begging for the wisdom that comes from above and is pure and undefiled (James 3:17).
It is humility that will bring a sweet-sounding harmony to the throne room of heaven. It is humility that is wonderful in the eyes of a God who “dwells in the high and holy place and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit…” (Isaiah 57:15).
So this week, let’s take a good look at Paul’s instructions and honestly evaluate. Let’s dare to pray: “God, humble me. Do what you must do to make me more like you. In the process, help me to give myself completely to you, a living sacrifice…”
What a beautiful sound must ring out in the heavens when the harmony of the saints’ prayers are humble and lowly like the Savior.