My heart starts pounding and peace flies out the window and frustration swiftly takes its place. I want to walk with humility and gentleness. To be patient and to take up love before all else. But have you ever noticed that these things are so much more easier said than done?
Words can sound pretty, but tuning the soul to sing them is difficult.
How do I make peace and unity my default? How do I deal with difficult people? People who should know better?
How does God deal with me?
It’s 2014, and, if you haven’t noticed, the Christian Church is divided on…pretty much everything. (Quick history lesson: We’ve pretty much always been this way.)
How do we strive for unity in the body of Christ when our own lives are so shattered and broken and divided?
I’m thinking on Ephesians 4:1-7. Paul, the author of the book of Ephesians, is on house arrest in Rome and is writing a letter to the believers in Ephesus. When it comes to discord, he tells them to pour themselves out “for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.”
He goes on to tell these people to link arms and stay the course, even when tensions arise and tempers flair. Because “you were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.”
Because God rules over all. Because God works through all. Because God is present in all.
Because in some crazy, miraculous mystery, God is one and we are one, too.
So does that mean Paul was telling the Christians to be little God-bots? To think the same and act the same and have the same passions and have the same callings?
This is what he writes next: “But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.”
Here’s what I’m taking away, and maybe you need this reminder, too:
- We unite through humility, gentleness, and patience.
- There’s one God who weaves our stories together, uniting us into one incredible body of believers.
- While we walk one road together, we have different passions and callings. There’s diversity of experience and thought and perspective and talent.
- We’re tied together in grace. Grace we’ve received flows into grace we give each other.
“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.” Ephesians 4:1-7
What do you think? How do we walk, hand-in-hand, in a manner worthy of the calling?