If you have never been a part of its atmosphere, you might not recognize its absence. If that is the case, I pray for your sanity.
If you have overlooked this teaching of the Bible, you could be causing devastating consequences.
It’s a little word containing only five letters. What is it? UNiTY!
With it in our presence, we can make wonderful progress towards good growth. Without it, such progress can come to a screeching halt.
That is why the Apostle Paul raises this call in his letter to the Church at Ephesus. In fact, the fourth chapter begins with an urging, a “beseeching” if you will. There is an intense word used here as he directly says that believers should walk worthy of the calling of God. With some beautiful adjectives, he describes what walking this way looks like. It has the appearance of humility and gentleness, with longsuffering (or patience) and bearing with one another in love.
Why is such a walk necessary? It is for the sake of UNiTY. This worthy walk that the Apostle is urging the Ephesian believers toward is an indication that they are “endeavoring to keep the UNiTY of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (4:3).
Christian, you need to add this walk to your talk. This UNiTY is needed in your local church as well. Hearty shouts of “amens” and subtle wishes that someone else would really “get it” are not enough.
You must want it so intensely that you will go to the altar and then alter your walk. Act like the servant that you have been called to be.
- That means you forgive those offenses and quit carrying that grudge, knowing that everyone else is just as imperfect as you are.
- It means that regardless of how spiritually gifted you are, you will walk in the humility that you are not better than others.
- That means that you will treat others as gently as you’d like to be treated, watching your tone of voice and body language to ensure love is being shown.
Such a walk shows Christ, the Head of the Church that you are eager to maintain the UNiTY that strengthens the bond of peace. Such a walk is simply cooperating with the Spirit.
Make every effort to keep the UNiTY. It’s worth the work (tweet this). And if you do it with the right motive, you will have the help of the Holy Spirit.
Why should you put forth such effort? Because God’s Word just told you to do it. And when we “dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1), the Holy Spirit comes upon His people as “precious ointment.”
Make no mistake, offenses and conflicts will come. They show up regardless of how spiritually minded you are. That’s when “make every effort” goes to work.
Pastors, teachers, deacons, elders, and staff members regardless of a title should consider themselves as personally responsible to make every effort toward unity. Set the pace and lead by example.
You will have to be on purpose about it. UNiTY is not the result of just going with the flow (click to tweet). Following the path of least resistance is what makes people and rivers crooked.
The local church does not simply drift to success. You must make every effort to acquire and maintain UNiTY.
What do you need to do differently this week to maintain UNiTY in your local church?
Written by William Strickland. Pastor of Harvest Christian Center in Cantonment, FL. Husband to Lisa and father to three kids. To read more of Williams’s work, take a look at his blog and be sure to follow him on social media.
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