Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB20- emphasis mine)
Unity. I crave it.
The news reveals how divided people have become. I’m tired of the fighting between and within political parties; race issues; disrespect for police and other authority; and the Covid-19 pandemic with its isolation, closures, new disease variants, and people battling about mask use and vaccines.
It grieves me that many battles are causing division between followers of Jesus. Instead of being united in Jesus Christ, I’ve read and heard people question the salvation of others because they think differently on issues. It is one thing to become informed, another to bash or shun others who disagree.
Oxford Languages defines unity as “The state of being united or joined as a whole.”
Followers of Christ Jesus are supposed to dwell together in unity. How can we build unity? Let’s look at the steps given in Ephesians 4:1-3
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to be unified with Christ and with each other. We are commanded to share to Gospel of Jesus with others, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19. 20) In order to walk worthy of our calling, we need to be obedient to Jesus.
With all humility and gentleness…If we want unity, we can’t let our pride get in the way. We need to acknowledge when we are wrong and seek forgiveness. We need to be gentle with others, recognizing that like us, they are on the journey to know Jesus better. Even if we believe we are in the right, we must be humble in spirit and treat each other with respect.
With patience…It seems when we pray for patience that it is then that we have trying situations. But it is in the difficulty that we learn to be patient. When that person who drives us crazy comes up, may we pray and practice listening graciously.
Bearing with one another in love… The Living Bible states this as “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” If we focus on everything negative about our spouse or child, it makes it hard to love them. We choose to overlook some of these areas because we do love them. Likewise, let’s look at others through love like we want them to do with us.
Being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… Are we making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit? Is being like-minded as Christ more important than the style of worship, or the choices others make for their own medical care? May our love for each other and for God hold, or bind, us together.
Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for focusing on differences instead of on what I have in common with other believers – You. Please forgive me for making my own viewpoint more important than the unity of the Spirit. Help me to be patient, humble, and gentle with others. Help me to make every effort to preserve unity, just as You and Jesus are One.
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