"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about unity as a reality and something that requires maintenance.
The unity of the Spirit is something we have through faith in Jesus. Paul says, "There is one body and one Spirit". This is the truth. It is what is, and it cannot be changed.
Yet there is also the need to "keep" that unity "through the bond of peace". It takes effort. It requires each one of us to learn to see the body of Christ the way God sees it. It means we need to set aside our differences and embrace unity. It means making a commitment, as I sang in a song this morning at a pastor's prayer gathering, to not harm another with my mouth. It means we do not speak ill of one another, we do not cut down, unfairly compare, or judge in a way that does not fit with the bond of peace.
"There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:5)
This is a challenge for the church today. Too often we make divisions where God does not, and our man-made divisions (see I Corinthians 1:12-13) hurt our witness in the world. What will it take for the church to stand as a united witness to Jesus in the world? How can we begin to obey the command: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace"?
I invite you to share your thoughts, as we journey together along the way ...