How Does “One” Work?

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16

The calling? To be holy and blameless before the Lord, living according to the purpose of His will to the praise of His glorious grace. Walking worthy of it requires all humility, gentleness, and patience. Here is, in the flesh, the higher, harder calling. The first is wholly dependent on the Spirit’s sanctification of our sinful ways, the next requires surrendering self and continually offering ourselves as living sacrifices for the good of the Body. (Ephesians 1:4-6)

How can we be of one mind when we keep disagreeing? How can we be unified in purpose when passions, preferences, and personalities conflict? How can there be unity and peace when I’m right and they’re wrong and never the twain shall be reconciled?

The trouble with troubling over opinion and desire is that we’re focusing energies in the wrong places. When we start from stubborn individualism and revere autonomy, we necessarily meet conflict. But when we begin with one body and one Spirit, we learn to pull in all the edges to form a whole and focus on one hope, one Lord, a unified faith in the one God and Father of all.

In what areas or relationships do I need to be expressly more humble, gentle, and patient? How much effort am I expending to maintain unity and promote peace? How am I serving or speaking to engender stability, maturity, and strength among those in my circle of influence? Where am I contributing- by the measure of His grace- to God’s intended oneness in the church?

Lord, unite my heart in love for You and commitment to Your purposes. Continually renew the spirit of my mind that I might live in your likeness in righteousness and holiness for the building up of your body. (Psalm 86:11; Ephesians 4:22-23,29,32)

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