Which is more important: the self, the immediate community, or the wider community? I suspect when it comes down to it, all of us would have the self as our primary motivation. Each of us is the centre of our own universes, and the immediate and wider communities are only important insofar as they impact the self. This means we live in a world of overlapping universes, each person with their own bubble, each bubble with its own centre of gravity, direction, and momentum. How hard it is to truly be united then!
So how do we solve this problem of disunity? There are two ways to go about this. The first is to line up everyone really close to each other and make sure we are all pointing in the same direction. The result of this will be that our individual bubbles overlap with each other greatly so that from the outside, we look like one entity moving together. But the reality is that we are not one but still many, a collection of more-or-less like-minded individuals moving in the same direction. Somewhat like a fleet of buses moving together from one destination to another, but each bus driver has a different motivation for this journey. So the second way – replace each person’s primary motivation so that each of them has the exact same motivation, so now we simply have one big bubble with one centre of gravity, direction, and momentum. And the beauty of this is that then each person helps the bubble move – you have one bus and therefore one bus driver, but you also have someone cleaning the windshield so that the bus driver can see in the correct direction, you have someone else who knows the terrain the bus has to cover and so this person equips the bus with the correct equipment, and so forth. Different things, different tasks, but all with the same destination in mind, with the same motivation, and this motivation has nothing to do with the self but with the whole.
Where am I going with this? Here it is: true unity such as this can only happen when each of us has the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). For it is not just a new heart and a new spirit that Christ has given us (Ezek 36:26) but also his own mind, and it is only when we have the mind of Christ, when we value as he values, love as he loves, think as he thinks, that we are truly united from the inside out and able to work together for his kingdom purposes. So let us put away childish ways (1 Cor 13:11) and instead seek unity as we mature together in the mind of Christ.