Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as you read the following section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 4:1-6
We all made stupid decisions when we were young right?
When I was kid I was double-dog-dared to hurl a big rock at a stop sign. Well what usually stops at stop signs? Cars! I missed the stop sign and broke the windshield of an unsuspecting, angry soccer mom. She came running out of her car towards me and my brave friends tucked tail and left me there high and dry. She demanded my name but I wouldn’t tell her. You know why? Not because I was scared (ok, maybe a bit), but because I knew I had not lived up to my name; the name my parents gave me. I am a junior. My dad and I have the same name. I knew I had done something that reflected poorly on His name and how he raised me.
A Christian bears the name of Christ and is called to ‘walk’ or live each day in a way that honors Jesus. How do we walk worthy of our ‘calling’? What does it look like? It looks like walking down the road God has called us to together in Christian unity.
Verses two gives us four essential attitudes for Christian unity:
1. Humility – recognizing our true position before God and seeing other people as valuable
2. Gentleness - strength under control
3. Patience - slowness to avenge a wrong or to retaliate when hurt by another
4. Love – unconditionally pouring ourselves out for others with the sacrificial concern that sent Jesus willingly to the cross.
These four essential attitudes help us in ‘diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit” that binds us all together. Living with humility, gentleness, patience and love requires the end of ‘self’.
As long as we act like the world revolves around us this unity will not exist. As ‘self’ dies, we begin to live and grow in unity. God’s Spirit is at work sanctifying us, stripping away our old addiction to self and bringing new life in Christ to our souls. The more this happens in our hearts the more we are able to reflect a better picture of the peace, unity and oneness of God.
Christian unity does not mean brainless submission or assembly line conformity. That is where cults come from. It does not mean tolerance towards every teaching or acceptance of every crazy thought. It is not brushing every hard conversation under the rug to avoid ruffling someone’s feathers. A healthy dialogue over differing but important aspects of our faith can be one of the most unifying actions we can do. However, there is no Christian unity unless it is grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our peace and great Unifier of the Church.
Bottom Line: Christian unity matters to God and originates in the Trinitarian unity of God. We believe in one God in three persons; The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Christian unity reflects our united God.
In John 17, Jesus prays for unity in His Church so many times and with such power that it is impossible to miss. It might even make you a bit uncomfortable. Give it a read! Jesus prayed, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.” (John 17:21) What does Jesus say would be the result of such compelling unity? That the world would believe that Jesus was sent by God. There are gospel implications to living in unity on Team Jesus.
Can you imagine if Christians everywhere operated as one unified force? Can you imagine if Christians truly died to self and lived worthy of our calling? What if we really did unite around our Triune God , with one hope, one faith, one baptism, one Gospel, one team and one mission? Can you imagine the impact that we would have on the world around us? Jesus could.
1. Which essential attitude do you struggle the most with in verse 2? (Humility, Gentleness, Patience or Love?)
2. Are there any areas of life you have caused disunity in the church? What are some ways you can minimize unresolved conflict or disunity in your sphere of influence?
3. What could it look like for you to ‘walk worthy of your calling’ this week where you live, work and play?
Memorize: Ephesians 4:1-3
4 “Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting[a] one another in love, 3 diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.”