‘Make every effort to keep yourselves united’ – Ephesians 4:3, New Living Translation
I am sure you can remember where you were or what you were doing when you made the decision to answer the call of Jesus Christ. In that moment you came to the understanding that although all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Jesus came, died on the cross, rose again and brought salvation to us all (Romans 3:23-24). You recognised the opportunity to be saved by grace and you took it.
In Ephesians 4, Paul begins by encouraging those in the church of Ephesus to ‘lead a life worthy of [their] calling’. Unity is an integral part of the Christian faith. When a person decides to follow after Jesus they are joining the great number of believers across the world; the church without walls, also known as the body of Christ. Now, this is the part where we acknowledge that a great number of people can also lead to a great number of differences.
We each come to Christ in our own way; with our own thoughts, our own beliefs and our own way of doing things. As believers we are all also on a journey to rid ourselves of our former nature with a desire to put on the nature of Christ. It is inevitable that there will be clashes of individuality, which is why Paul says the following in Ephesians 4:2:
‘Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love’.
Although speaking to an entire church, this is a request placed on each individual. What Paul highlights for us is that unity can thrive in the Body of Christ when we as individuals show grace to each other, in the same way that Christ has shown us grace.
We are called to make every effort to strive for unity, which is possible when we collectively focus our eyes on Jesus Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith. So if Tanya steps on your toe as she is trying to get into the church doors before you, remember that it is Christ who called you to not only forgive her, but to love her too. You have both been called to the same marvellous goal and are each on your way.
‘For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future (Ephesians 4:4)’. Knowing that in unity there is strength, we have the power to work together for the sake of the gospel and to further spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. We ought to live lives worthy of our calling and as part of that we must unite.