When I think of harmony, I think of singing. I have always loved to sing, adding my little bit whenever needed as part of an ensemble in high school or a duet in university. A memorable gift several Christmases ago, which enriched our family devotions, was a book of 365 days of hymns and their histories. Our outward worship often involves music, instruments, and voices blending melody and harmony into one beautiful sound. In this same way, our churches are to blend, so to speak, many talented individuals into one functioning and harmonious “body,” directed by its designated head, Jesus Christ.
Romans 12 gives us guidelines for how this should look. We are commanded to function, not in a fleshly normal way, within this “body,” but in a way guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Verse sixteen zeroes in on our duty to “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…” Living for the good of others, we shall profit ourselves because the whole “body” profits from the harmony which is produced.
Charles Spurgeon had some excellent thoughts. “We must not isolate our own interests, but feel that we live for others. This teaching is sustained by the analogy of nature, for in nature there is a law that no one thing can be independent of the rest of creation, but there is a mutual action and reaction of all upon all. All the constituent parts of the universe are bound to one another by invisible chains, and there is not a single creature in it which springs up, or flourishes, or decays itself alone. The very planets, though they float far from one another, exercise attraction; and the fixed stars, though they seem to be infinitely remote, are still linked to one another by mysterious bonds. God has so constituted this universe that selfishness is the greatest possible offense against His law, and living for others, and ministering to others is the strictest obedience to His will” (Proverbs 11:25; Spurgeon Study Bible). We are drawn, sustained, and held in Christ’s “body” by the daily work of the Spirit. He guides us in righteousness and guards us against evil.
Encouraged to keep working to do our little bit within the “body,” Romans 15:5-6 gives us this blessing, “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.” What an overwhelming challenge we have been given which can only be accomplished with the Spirit’s help. Each praying to grow like-minded with Christ in our daily walk, we will grow like-minded with one another in the process!