The topic of unity has not only been on my mind but is also on the minds of many others worldwide. Why? Because the ugly word “division” continues to pop its nasty head up in the lives of people, families, friendships, and Churches all around the world.

How do I know this? Well, it is, of course, easy to turn on any news program and see the conflicts that both have and are occurring throughout our world regarding countries at war, politics, religion, sexual preference, ideologies, and much more. It is sad to see how our world continues to divide itself on so many things. Some that matter and some that do not.

I, too, have dealt with division in a few ways, as many of us have—division in the family, friendships, and the Church. I must say that while I’m writing this series of articles and a book on this subject (mainly Church Division), I wish I wasn’t. Truly the main reason that I can write on a subject like this is because I have gone through things that I wish I never would have gone through. Do I count myself blessed to have gotten through tough times? Yes! But still, I wish they had never happened.

Division is not something, however, that started at the turn of the century or even one or two hundred years ago. It started at the beginning. Yes, when I say beginning, I mean where everything started in the book of Genesis.

In Genesis 3, we find in the subheading of most Bibles, “The Fall of Man,” which is an accurate statement in my estimation of the story itself. The garden account is a beautiful scene describing the incredible things that God had done and created—a place where all things essentially worked together perfectly for good. But, one problem entered the garden and made its way to the one tree forbidden to the man and woman who inhabited the garden, Adam and Eve.

Of course, we know what happens in the story, don’t we?

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the LordGod called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” [1]

At this point, we find the true consequence of their actions, and it can be defined by one word. Division! The result of their disobedience to God, was for them to be cast out of the garden and never allowed back in. Why is this significant? It is simple. They were no longer allowed to be in the place He had prepared for them. No longer allowed to be in the presence of the “tree of life” nor, for that matter, the “tree of knowledge.” So, God cast them out and protected the tree of life.

Note how Moses writes these words,

“So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” [2]

This set of sins began the “great divide” that now separated man from God and thus separated God from man. This very idea helps us understand the true nature of both “division” and “sin” from a spiritual standpoint. Which, in my estimation, is how we should all look at the concept itself. I mean, think about it. Why do we divide?

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Pride: ἀλαζονεία, alazoneiapretension, arrogance in word and deed. [3] It is the complete opposite of humility which Jesus and others preach we must have in the life of God’s man…Matt. 18:4; 23:12; Acts 20:19; Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:3; James 1:21; 1 Peter 5:5
  2. Power: δύναμις, dynamis – potential for functioning in some way, power, might, strength, force, capability. [4] While power with and in of itself is not bad, when people strive to have power themselves, they have forgotten their true purpose as God’s man. Our purpose is not to gain our false sense of power, as all things belong to God, who has all power. Rather, our purpose is to live for the Lord who has all power and use the power of influence as we live for Him throughout our daily lives…cf. Matt. 22:29
  3. Personality: While I am aware of no use of this word in the text, the word “person” is used. It comes from the word “πρόσωπον, prosopon”. It has a definition of the personal presence or relational circumstance, fig. 5 The Merriam-Websters dictionary defines it as “the quality or state of being.”[5] So, the personality has everything to do with one individual’s mind. How that mind deals with and thinks about other people can greatly affect the unity that may or may not exist between God’s people.
  4. Politics: The art of science of government which has divided counties for hundreds and hundreds of years. However, in more modern-day times, politics has become more about opinions, and if you do not agree with my opinion, then “I will not only have nothing to do with you but will be against you in all you do!” This is the mindset. You are either with me or against me. Politics is very divisive, not because of the word or idea, but because people aren’t willing to allow their politics to help each other. No one listens; everyone fights.

The reality is that we have drawn lines of division and built walls that do not allow others into our circle. Because of these lines or walls that have been built, we have developed more and more problems along the way. Problems in our families. Problems in our relationships. Problems in the Church. This is NOT the way of God, and not the way a Christian should live.

When I see divisions occur, whether it is in my day or in the days of the Church at Corinth, or even in the Church at Philippi, the issue essentially remains the same: people are fighting against the idea that they need each other and therefore strive to separate themselves in one way or another because they know better, because they have a better way, or know more than the other person. Again, it comes down to the words described before. Pride, Power, Personality, and Politics.

Roger Hillis wrote,

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, but working together is success.” [6]

If we are going to “Excel In Unity,” we must begin to understand this concept. T.E.A.M.

Together, Each Achieves More

As the body of Christ, a family, we can only achieve and excel to our maximum potential when we are with one another and not against one another. One cannot forget the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:21-22 as he wrote that we are being both “built” and “fitted” together as we are a part of the body of Christ. Teams achieve together not the other way around. We need to have the same idea. We work best when we are together, even if we disagree, our ability to come to a solution makes us better for the future. Same team, same goals, same God!

Jesus said in His prayer to the Father before His death,

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” [7]

Let’s notice some things here as we begin to close this article.

  1. The Humility of Jesus is completely a part of His personality as He understood His place under the Father while on this earth.
  2. The Focus of Jesus was on the betterment of those that He came to save and not on Himself, who was about to die a cruel death.
  3. The Purpose of uniting souls with the Lord was the number one thing He desired. This unity concept has to do with two parts. Jesus in us. God in Christ. This creates the fellowship in Christ, placing the believer back into the presence of God, who has been separated by sin.
  4. The Result is influencing others in the world to come to the love of Christ and have the opportunity to fellowship with God as they are forgiven of their sins…Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:27; Col. 1:13; 1 Peter 3:21
  5. The Love that now exists because all of these have been put into play. Humility, focus, purpose, and the result.

God’s plan is a wonderful thing. To save man from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9), which has been initiated as a result of their sin, because Christ rose from the dead (Romans 6:3-5; 5:10) and cleansed those who will walk in His light (1 John 1:5,7,9).

God’s plan is one of unity; therefore, our lives, our families, and the Church He added us to (Acts 2:47) should revolve around the same idea.

Together, Each Achieves More!


[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ge 3:6–11.

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ge 3:24.

[3] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 40.

[4] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 262.


[6] One Another Christianity, Roger HIllis

[7] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 17:22–23.

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Garrett married his wife, Cristen, in December 2005 and has four wonderful boys! Parker is married to his beautiful wife Claire and their daughter Taytum, Cohen, Ryder, and Kamden. Garrett has directed and participated in many camps, retreats, conferences, and workshops and serves on the national staff for Lads to Leaders. He is the President of Excel Still More and an annual writer and instructor for ESM. Garrett currently serves as the pulpit minister for the Hydro Church of Christ in Hydro, Oklahoma, where he and his family reside.