(Ephesians 4:3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The word translated “Endeavouring” in this verse is the Greek word spoudazō. It is the same word translated “Study” in 2 Timothy 2:15. But the Christian life is not academic. It is a life that is lived. Each of us lives an individual life with individual influences, individual environments, individual pain, individual joy, individual thoughts and an individual relationship with the Father. Yet, in this Body of Christ into which the Spirit baptizes each of us at the time of salvation, we are made as individual parts to work together as a whole. Because of our individuality but placed into oneness, unity must be guarded. We are called to be keepers diligently protecting the oneness we have in Christ.
How is unity protected? Do we demand that each person conform to the thoughts, influences and environment of one person or a group of people? Do we require each person grow in Christ to our specifications? Is unity accomplished when we worship in “our” church with “our” people? Do we declare the perfection of our theology and discount all who will not succumb? How fractured we must look to God as we set our own standards for unity! The beauty of the Body of Christ is that even in our individuality; we can exist and function as one living organism. Yes, some are right and some are wrong. Of course some grow into His image faster than others. Unity is not protected by those who more fervently believe they are right nor is it protected by the assumption that everyone is right.
Unity is protected by those qualities of the Lord Jesus Christ that are described in the preceding verse: lowliness, meekness, forbearance and love. True humility with the mind of Christ gives us the capacity to work together in spite of our differences. Economics, race, nationality, and yes – even denomination are no barriers to love between brothers and sisters in Christ. So how about doctrine? Does doctrine matter? Of course doctrine matters. But do we have the audacity to accept that even humility and love ARE doctrine as much as any theological approach? Are we brave enough to lower ourselves below the less mature to allow them the opportunity to grow? Can we work together to reach the lost and encourage the redeemed because we are in one Body? Unity can only be protected if we are bold enough to think like Christ – in humility and love, lowering ourselves for the sake of the brethren, and ministering together to do the will of the Father.
Renewed Thought – True unity isn’t about compromise. True unity is living the higher calling in communion.