Felt impressed by the Holy Spirit today, to share where He led me in His Word. The Scripture and some random convictions shared. No other input here, today :)
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:1-6).
This unity of which Paul wrote is not one which the Christian needs to create, but one which already exists and must be preserved (vs. 3). It is based upon our sharing life in one body, the universal church, the body of Christ (vs. 5, cf. 2:15,16). All Christians are empowered and indwelt by the same Spirit and look forward to the same hope (vs. 5, cf. 1:18). We possess one Lord, that is, one Godhead and Leader, one common faith (one system of fundamental truth) held by all Christians, and one baptism (i.e. spirit baptism, cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). There is amazing and beautiful unity in this picture.
Unity, although it can not be created by the Christian, must be preserved by him/her. This is to be diligently pursued (vs. 3) by an attitude of humility (seeing ourselves as God does, unworthy recipients of His grace). Our humble spirit should be demonstrated by a gentleness and graciousness in our dealings with others. This gentleness should be longsuffering, patiently enduring prolonged irritation. This is how God’s Word defines it and captures it. Slow to speak – quick to listen. The love which we have for one another should prompt us to put up with the eccentricities of our fellow-Christian brothers and sisters. As Ironside put it, “lovingly putting up with all that is disagreeable in other people.” That is the atmosphere of love and peace, even when it’s not easy to do so.
Unity does not imply uniformity. It welcomes diversity with the understanding that not all Christians will think alike, perform identical ministries, or have the same gifts and interests. It does imply a common purpose and interdependence within the body of Christ – that we are working and serving and loving to fulfill a common mission. A genuine Christian realizes that the “right” perspective is the “Christ” perspective – that our own ideas, input, and convictions must all be submitted to Him. That is one dimension of surrender, and a very necessary one.
Every individual within the body of Christ is given a particular capacity for ministry. This capacity (or capacities) is commonly called a ‘spiritual gift – and the One Who gives the gift, or gifts, distributes them as He sees fit. The one thing we must pray and discern is what our gifts are in and where they would best serve His Church. Not necessarily where we would like it to be, but rather, in relationship to what He has given and provided.
Lord, help us to be seekers of Your unity, whereby we are one in body, in love, and in spirit. Give us what we will need to be Your witnesses to the ends of the earth! In Jesus’ Name! Amen.