May the God who inspires men to endure, and gives them a Father’s care, give you a mind united towards one another because of your common loyalty to Jesus Christ. And then, as one man, you will sing from the heart the praises of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified (Romans 15:5-6)
There is no need to panic or to be afraid that we cannot work these problems out, Paul says. God can drastically change the situation. He is that kind of a God. He suggests two things we can do when we get involved in a disagreement like this:
First, there should be prayer, prayer for unity. Paul prays himself that God may grant “a mind united towards one another,” or as the NIV renders it: “a spirit of unity among yourselves.” In Luke 11:13, Jesus said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him!”
Jesus isn’t talking about a way to get the Spirit of God to come into your life. He is talking about problems and difficulties in your life when you need a special work of the Holy Spirit. He says, “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, even though basically you have evil in your nature, how much more willing is our Heavenly Father to give the Holy Spirit to you in times of problems and difficulties, to preserve the spirit of unity that you desperately need.”
Let me illustrate how this can happen. Several months ago I heard about a couple of brothers in our church were having big differences of opinion on a particular project. As I heard it, they not only came to a deadlock on this issue and completely unable to resolve it (because, obviously, they both felt they were right, and neither one of them was willing to give in), but it affected a whole program that God was putting together, because it depended on their working together. Ouch!
It looked as though the whole thing was going to collapse, because nothing could be worked out. Someone heard about the issue and mentioned it to the Pastor. He called both of the men together to pray, asking the Lord to intervene. When they actually met, one of the men said, “There is no need for us to talk about this, because the Lord has already been talking to me. He showed me that I had been stubborn and obstinate about this, and I’m sorry. Let’s go on to other things now; let’s get the program started.” Wow! Was it the threat that now, the Pastor was going to get involved? Nope. The whole conflict just faded away because the Lord is able to change situations and bring about unity. So prayer for unity is one of the most important things we can do when there is this kind of disagreement among us.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome