1 Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Can you think of someone in the church who rubs you the wrong way? Can you think of someone in your life who is difficult to love? Can you think of someone who easily becomes divisive? On the other side of things, have you ever thought that you yourself could sometimes be difficult to love? Yes, yes, yes, and yes…BUT we can learn and choose to love by God’s grace. Perhaps that is what Paul truly meant when he wrote about “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” in Ephesians 4:1-3.
Unfortunately, this COVID season has brought up many opportunities to forsake unity even for people in the church. Have you been tempted to judge another person for whether they are wearing a mask? Have you been tempted to make assumptions about someone based on how they are heeding or not heeding precautions? Paul calls us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received.
How do we live a life worthy of the gospel? How do we continue to walk faithfully? We can’t do this on our own—we must abide in Christ (John 15). You can’t be humble and gentle and longsuffering toward anyone on your own. You can’t love that difficult person and be at peace with him or her on your own. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can do what would otherwise be impossible.
Try an experiment. The next time you are at church or another event, migrate to someone you naturally wouldn’t go to and just start a conversation. Ask them questions, listen to their heart, and pray by the grace of God that the Spirit would grant you much grace, love, and peace towards them. Make an effort! See the hand of God working right in the midst of this.
We all need grace. We all need the gospel. We all need God. Paul David Tripp puts it this way: “You’ll never celebrate grace as much as you should when you think you’re more righteous than you actually are.” O Lord, humble us.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Think of one person in your life who is difficult to love. How could you specifically start praying for them?
- What is an action step you can take in your own campus to pursue unity among the congregants during this difficult pandemic season?