Look around. All you see in this world today in division. Countries are in civil war. People turning against each other of stupid stuff. It seems that to be arguing is the in thing. Even if what they say or do makes them look stupid, they do it anyways just because of they disagree with what is going on.
Can’t really blame the world for this. We need to take a hard look at ourselves, Church. This has been an ongoing problem. Almost from the beginning of the church. Back in Philippians chapter 4, Paul calls out, Euodia and Syntyche, by name to agree in the LORD. Not just did he tell them to stop the senseless fight but asked the church to help them get past it. How sad it is to be remembered throughout history as the women who couldn’t get along so bad Paul had to tell them to grow up.
Look at Acts 15, Paul, himself got in a fight with Barnabas over taking John Mark on there next trip. This argument caused the two to go their separate ways. Some say this is a good thing because at the time the Word of God went out to more people. Yet, when you look at Paul’s writing he talks a lot about the church being united as one. We are all a part of one body and have received and given gifts by the same Spirit. None of us is more important that the other and we need each other to build each other up.
Today, the Church is just as divided as the world is. This division has stopped us from being the light that we are called to be. We can’t expect the world to act any different when we are acting just like them. More than ever is Paul’s words from Ephesians 4:1-6;
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
What I love about these verses is that Paul doesn’t just say to grow up and act like what a Christian should act like and leave it there. He gives us a list of what our life as Christians should look like.
Humbleness – Not thinking that you are more important than someone else.
Gentleness – Being tender and kind to one another.
Patience – Longsuffering, perhaps the hardest quality of this list. Check out what Dictionary.com says about patience – bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
Enduring one another in love – Seems like patience until you get to the part about in love. Sure you can be patient with someone but can you love them no matter how they act, what they say or what they believe.
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace – This is another hard point to maintain. How many churches have split because of something that is not a doctrinal issue but a preference as to how things should be done. In order to maintain (work at) unity we have to bond it to peace and that is only through Jesus.
Paul doesn’t stop there he gives another list as to why we are able to do the above list. His next list is a reminder of what we have together already in unity. There is only ONE:
Body of Christ
Hope in salvation
Most of all there is one God and Father of all. He is over all, through all and in all.
The last point on the list should alone be enough to allow us to focus on unity. He is our Father and we are one because of that.