Unity Is: “The quality of being one.” Not uniformity. And not a giant group hug where sin and false religions are tolerated. In today’s post we’re going to talk about a life permanently marked by unity because there’s only one Jesus. In Ephesians 4.3 it says
“make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit.”
So the first thing we need to unpack is
HOW DO WE MAINTAIN UNITY?
The answer is in Ephesians 4.2:
1. Be Humble (lowliness of mind; especially in thinking)
- Literally “your mind not rising far from the ground”
- There is nothing more scathing or abrasive than arrogance. And where arrogance exists in the body of Christ, unity does not. Therefore, in order for you to maintain the unity of the Spirit, you must be humble.
- To make this practical, read John 3:30
- Why are we humble? Because Jesus is humble, and there’s only one Jesus
2. Be Gentle (power under control; like a sailboat)
- Being gentle is not being soft, squishy, and ticklish
- It is real strength, but it does not have to display itself or show off how strong it is
- Why are we gentle? Because Jesus is gentle, and there’s only one Jesus
3. Be Patient (endure annoyances over a period of time)
- Sometimes enough is enough, but we don’t explode the first time something happens that is, in fact, annoying. Impatient people destroy unity, because maintaining unity is more of a process than creating it (which, by the way, isn’t your job).
- Being patient literally means to have a long-temper or a big soul as opposed to a short-temper
- Why are we patient? Because Jesus is patient, and there’s only one Jesus
4. Show Tolerant Love (putting up with each other in love)
- In NO WAY is this akin to the cultural group hug that is tolerance. In the Bible, this kind of tolerance is more like this:
- not a question of maintaining a façade of courtesy while inwardly seething with resentment but is a Spirit empowered positive love to those who irritate, disturb, or embarrass you [within the body of Christ]
- Why are we tolerant in love? Because Jesus puts up with us, and there’s only one Jesus.
HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THIS?
Not every church does things the same way.
Not every church looks the same
Not every believer looks the same.
But there’s only one Jesus.
We all do things differently…but there’s only one Jesus.
And if someone is pursuing that Jesus, then we are united with them through the gospel, and we are called to maintain that unity in the Holy Spirit.