TODAY’S READING: 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… eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” EPH 4:1-3
As I think back to my time as a child at primary school, I can only ever remember long, hot and sunny summer days culminating in June, at the end of term, with the annual school sports day. There was the tug of war, egg and spoon race, obstacle race, and of course the sprints and relay races, but my favourite was the three-legged race. (Today, this might fall foul of health and safety policing and risk-management as inevitably there would be falls and injuries and entangled bodies.) One leg from the first child was securely fastened to one leg from the second child with an old pair of your mum’s tights! I don’t know where that came from, but they did the job very well. As the whistle blew, it was only a matter of seconds before the first bodies lay mangled in a heap on top of one another on the grass. Running the three-legged race without falling wasn’t rocket science but it did involve a few key strategies. Firstly, tie the tights well to one another’s ankles. Secondly, walk in the same direction and finally, make sure you walk in unity, almost as one person, in the same direction and at the same speed.
Paul outlines doctrine and exposition in the first three chapters of his letter to the Ephesians and now in the remaining chapters, his focus is on duty and exhortation, or putting it simply, how to apply these eternal truths to every part of daily life.
The church in Ephesus, like many of the churches across Europe, was made up of a diverse group of people.
There were slave and free, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, those from a Jewish background and others who were Gentiles but now, they were one. The God whom they served was indeed three - diverse - but also one - unity. The origin of their unity lay in the work of the Father, the Son who gave them life and the same Holy Spirit who dwelt in each of them. They were indeed one but now the exhortation came to faithfully live it out.
If only walking in unity was as simple as the three-legged race! At that time, the calling was to hundreds of believers locally. Now, it is also a call to millions globally who are joined together and united in Christ. This calling is to walk in such a way that reveals the unity that Paul is referring to, through their daily lives.
How do we do that?
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (v2).
There’s no doubt that we each must make the effort but these qualities aren’t actually naturally occurring in one’s life; they are the result of intentionally partnering with the Spirit daily. The real effort is to effectively allow Christ to live through us.
As we meditate upon the Scriptures; pray in the Holy Spirit; walk in the light with the family of God and have a willingness to obey the promptings of the Spirit, we’ll increasingly see a love for one another and demonstrate a unity that can only have originated from above.
• Read Ephesians 4:1-6
• Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a greater humility and patience with others.
• Pray for a greater eagerness in your life group, local church and in the worldwide church to live together in an authentic, Biblical unity.