Unity of believers is of the utmost importance and is referenced numerous times in the scripture. Unity, however, is hard especially when you are dealing with people. Human nature is to want what we want. No one ever teaches a child to say no. We work long and hard to teach children to share. Selfishness comes natural and so does division. Paul in Ephesians 4:1-6 addresses the how and why of unity. We have to remember that we are all called by God unto salvation and therefore we are all called to work for unity. In verse 2 Paul shares that this is done through humility or “lowliness.” Humility is not natural. This is a choice that we make every day. Will I allow my pride to rule my life today or while I humble myself under the mighty hand of God? Then he points to gentleness. This is one of the fruits of the spirit. Again, this means it does not come naturally, but is given to us by God and cultivated every day over time. Are you gentle with those that you disagree with or are you disagreeable? Paul then uses two words to describe patience, ‘longsuffering' and ‘bearing' with. To be unified can take time and require us to carry a heavy burden. The only way we will be unified and patient with one another is to choose to love one another. This is not an easy task. This is especially true if we have been hurt or not heard. Remember, however, this is the second great commandment according to Jesus, “love your neighbor as yourself.” In verse 3 Paul says to “endeavor" to keep unity. The word endeavor carries the meaning of working quickly, paying serious attention to or to be zealous. I wonder how many times we are ‘OK’ in our arguments, or ‘OK” in our broken relationships? Are we “endeavoring” to work toward unity? Peace in the church comes through unity. A singular focus. We have to recognize that we are all saved by the same grace. We are all put into the same body. We serve the same Lord. When we gossip, when we are negative, when we allow broken relationships to exist in the body of Christ, we are not unified, we will not have peace and we will fail to fulfill the calling God has placed on us. We also harm the witness of Christ.
Unity is all of our responsibility. How will you today help unify our church? How will you unify behind the mission of the church? What role will you play?