Unity in the Body of Christ
Life as a Christian is like no other and truly unique. We regularly meet people from different backgrounds, different ages, different opinions through bible studies, church and other events. With such diverse group of people, it presents opportunities for conflicts to arise. Just think about your own family or friends and think about how often conflict can arise. However, in this passage, Paul calls us to be one body and one family in God’s family. We are called to live in peace and called to love one another through the power of the Holy Spirit. Is that possible? In order to apply this passage to our lives, we need to examine our own attitudes and characters. I will focus on verses 2 to 3. 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 cannot be unity without humility. Pride is one of the most common root causes of conflicts. Pride tells us to hold on to power and authority tightly. Humility means that serve God without the need to be recognize by people. It means you can contribute to your ministry or team without seeking for validation. Humility allows you to listen to others who has a different opinion. Humility says I do not have to be right all the time and accept that we can be wrong or others might have a better idea than us. When we have a humble attitude, it is easier to say you may be right! Jesus himself was the ultimate example of humility. Though in the form of God, he emptied himself for our sake to live on this earth and lived a humble life.
Be Patient and bearing one another in love
I cannot stand your attitude or your behavior? Does that sound familiar? We often get impatient with people if they act in a certain way that irritates us. It could be a friend who is never on time and a family member who is too quick to jump to conclusions. Paul instructs us to do the opposite of that and instead say, I will be with you through your weaknesses and through a person’s ‘faults’. Paul says in order to maintain unity, patience and bearing one another in love is important. We are to be kind to one another appreciating that all of us have our own struggles. We have to be patient, to bear with one another and to make every effort to keep the unity. Notice that Paul uses words that requires actions because he appreciates that it is not easy to be patient. It requires effort. Jesus himself tolerated disciples who did not understand him a lot of times and still remained patient with Peter despite his shortcomings. We have to consciously be aware of our actions and words to others. We have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us. We ought to live a life of submission to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to control our emotions, words, attitudes and actions.
Why is unity important one may ask? We cannot live our Christian life alone because we need one another. Fellowship with believers is an important part of God’s design for our spiritual growth and our walk with God.
Heavenly Father, we pray for unity in our church and also churches around the world. May we learn to fully submit to the Holy Spirit to guide us in all our actions and words. Where there are areas that we are struggling with to maintain unity, help us. Amen.