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According to Wikipedia, the term “six degrees of separation” is the theory that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. This means that “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

Dan Dunn

Although many scholars debunk this theory as an academic urban myth, it is surprising how many times this theory has proven to be accurate, especially in an Internet-driven society with so many social media venues available.

This “six degrees” theory makes sense if you consider that we really are the family of God. In Ephesians 2:19, Paul wrote “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family” (NLT).

If we are members of God’s family, then how many degrees of separation should there be between us? Jesus declared that our love for one another would reveal that we belonged to Him. We often pray for revival in our lives and churches when the key to a move of God is really about degrees of separation. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23, NLT). Jesus Himself was sent to us from the Father; if I am going to be a “sent one,” I must be known for my desire for unity and a life of love given to others. I must be a loving person who lives and leads in unity so that I minimize the degrees of separation those around me feel.

As I was studying Colossians 3 one day, I came to verse 12 and had a serious prompting by the Holy Spirit to go back and read verse 11 again: “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us” (NLT). Every aspect of this verse tells us that there are to be no degrees of separation between those in the family of God. The first-century church, though it was made up of many differing categories of people, was an incredible example of unity. A slave who had no rights in his own household, but who was willing to serve his master as if he were serving Christ, could qualify to serve as an elder in the church over his own master! Imagine living such a lifestyle of love and unity.

Now, let’s read Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3:14: “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” I have to be willing to ask the Holy Spirit if I have allowed myself to tolerate degrees of separation in my life. I need to clothe myself in God’s love in such a way that my life draws others to me and to my God. 

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is the senior pastor of Real Life Church (Tampa West Foursquare Church) in Tampa, Fla.