“I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift...
“He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13
What a difference it would make in our daily atmosphere if we not just focused on, but rejoiced in, all that unifies us: a glory far beyond ourselves, our opinions, our preferences or political party. We’ve been summoned by a high calling, and can walk in it and fulfill it with humility, gentleness, and patience. The rub comes when we must set aside selfish ambition and the gnawing need to be right. Would that we make peace our ambition! (Romans 12:18; Galatians 3:26-29; Philippians 2:3-4; Hebrews 12:14)
In what ways do I stir disunity among fellow laborers, maybe even unwittingly? Do I gossip by sharing another’s sins behind their back? Do I, by facial expression or audible mention, imply suspicion or disdain, diss an opinion, or betray confidences? Am I argumentative, too ‘odious or touchy’ like ‘Euodia and Syntyche’? Have I loose self-control of a tongue that slanders, grouses, criticizes, and condemns? Maybe I lord it over others, insist on having the last word, or must boisterously make my expertise known? (Philippians 4:2-3)
When will I set aside that spiritual bully, and contribute instead to unity in the body? What comments and reactions need putting off? What default impulses and practices should be replaced, the new infused with love, a goal of harmony, and the rule of peace? How can I bring those with differing experiences, ideas, and tastes into the fold? What opinions and preferences can I set aside to zero in on what actually unites, and matters? How can I steer a conversation to commonalities that bring people together? Thinking through these considerations ahead of time equips us to respond with graciousness and the mind of Christ. (Colossians 3:5-17)
The next time we encounter opposition, or a boiling up of volatility, anger, disagreement, or divisiveness, what ingredients of grace will we inject? How will we stir up all involved to love and value each other, and to bring glory and honor to the God who unites us as His children for His kingdom’s sake? We can soar when we learn to appreciate differences, and do all we can to build up the Body in our common faith. (Hebrews 10:24)
Lord, illuminate my mind, soften my heart, and bring full maturity in my living to help me walk worthy of Your calling. Guide and inspire me to build up Your body in unity that reflects Your holy trinity, to Your honor. (Ephesians 4:15-16,22-24,29-32)