‘Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.’ (Ephesians 4:3 NIV)
One of the beauties of the Christian church is that we come from all different backgrounds and cultures. We are made up of different colours, ages and genders, and yet we are called together to live in oneness and unity with each other, both in the wider body of Christ and in our local congregations.
This is not an easy task.
It doesn’t mean that there won’t be disagreements or irritations within the Christian community, but Paul’s clear expectation is that we will strive to ensure that there will be peace among us.
The Spirit wants chains of peace to bind us together and is committed to work with us to maintain the oneness we have together in Jesus Christ, which we could easily lose in the way we treat one-another.
What are some of the key qualities of Jesus Christ himself that the Spirit wants to develop in us, if we are to maintain peace?
Here are some things Paul mentions in verse 2:
- Humility – Knowing who you are and who you are not, and being content;
- Meekness – Rather than fighting back, this is the response we are to have when people don’t treat us with humility;
- Patience – How long do you go on being humble and meek with other people? For as long as it takes; and
- Love – Sometimes others can be a terrible burden (as can we), but we are to bear with one-another in love.
All of this takes effort, which is why Paul says
‘Make every effort’; but that effort will only be successful to the extent we allow the humility, meekness, patience and love of Jesus dwell in us richly by the Holy Spirt, and flow on out of us towards other people.
We are to do this because our oneness together is an integral part of the oneness reflected in who God is and in what he wants for his people:
‘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. (v.4-6)
Our purpose is to be one together as the Lord is one, so that we can be one together with him.
Our unity and peace together is a mirroring of God himself.
Our unity and peace together is a mark of our spiritual maturity, and points us towards
‘the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ (v.13).
‘I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received’ (v.1) and maintain peace and unity together, for this will grow and build up the church in love as we all do our part (v.16).
Father, how good and how pleasant it is when your people dwell together in peace and unity. May your Spirit bind us together and may we strive to be at one with each other so we can demonstrate your glory in this world.
Have a good week growing in oneness.