Unity Starts With U and I
Ephesians 4:1-3 (AMP)
1 I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service,
2 Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.
3 Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.
In many areas, unity is said to be one of the most important success factors. In a team game setting, unity amongst the team members will affect how every member works together to win the game. In the corporate setting, there is an increasing focus placed on teamwork and unity within cross functional teams. Unity within the family draws family members closer together. Above all these, unity in Christ and within the body of Christ holds an important weight as well! Understanding the importance of unity is just the beginning. The crux of the matter lies in how we keep and preserve the unity! Having knowledge of something but not utilizing it is futile. So let us prepare our hearts and be ready for change!
Each one of us as believers has a common calling, to live out the Great Commission. This common calling can be found in Matthew 28:19-20 (AMP),
“Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.”
Jesus has commissioned each one of His disciples, this includes you and me who have received Him as our Lord and Savior.
Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 4:2, teaches us the four qualities or characteristics that promote unity. The first quality is humility. Humility is about being humble or modest. One of the antonyms of humility is pride. A person can’t be prideful and humble at the same time. The next quality that promotes unity is gentleness. One of the renowned Christian leaders defines gentleness as strength under control. A person may be very strong, but can also be gentle in speech, action and attitude. Patience is the third quality that promotes unity. It is defined as being quiet, possesing steady perseverance and even-tempered. Last but not least, the fourth quality that promotes unity is being forbearing with one another in love.
These four qualities that promote unity can and must be exercised at two levels. Unity in Christ and unity with the body of Christ! These qualities are essential for us to evangelize and disciple. For example, when evangelizing there is no place for pride or the fear of ‘losing face’. We can’t possibly take a passive approach, waiting for people to initiate the conversation before we share the Gospel with them. Another example for humility would be to come before God in humbleness and awe. When we do so, we recognize that He is God who is Almighty and Powerful. With a humble heart, we will then acknowledge that we need God in every situation in our lives. Patience can also be exercised at two levels. Exercising patience is trusting in God’s timetable and not to run ahead of Him. Instead, it is to walk in accordance to God’s plans and timing for us. To promote unity, it is also to be patient with people around us and be forbearing in love. Being easily annoyed or irritable certainly doesn’t help in preserving unity with others. Let us be filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit as taught in Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV), “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
What is God revealing to you today about the qualities that promote unity? What is the one quality that He is bringing to your remembrance or attention, that you need to develop in? Quieten down your heart so that you can tune in to God and let Him speak to you. Exercising these qualities is essential for us, so that we can live out the call of the Great Commission. Exercising humility, gentleness, patience and forbearing in love starts with each of us. Yes, you and I are called to be the ones to eagerly labor to safeguard the unity.
Join me in this prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. I commit to guard the unity within our church, to be united with You and to lead more people to be united with You. Help me Lord, to exercise the four qualities that promote unity. I surrender my all to You and let it be exchanged for a life that is humble, gentle, patient and forbearing in love, so that many will come to experience Your goodness through my life and glorify You. Thank You, Father. in Jesus’ most mighty Name I pray. AMEN!”