Making the Effort

Wendy Pope

Day: 11 | Plan: Christ Alone

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16

Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Christ brought us peace so we may live in unity with Him. The believers of the early church had experienced this beautiful unity with Christ when they accepted Him as Savior. And Paul challenges the young believers to extend this same peace to a group of people they did not get along with … the Gentiles.

Paul doesn’t mince words. He gets straight to the point: because believers are united with Christ (Ephesians 2:11-13), they should also be united with each other and we are to make every effort to sustain this unity. I am a lover of Scripture, but I will be the first to admit that sometimes Scripture writes a tall order, and this is one of those times. Now Paul calls us to action.

It’s important we pay attention to the word keep in Paul’s instruction. The creation of unity is the job of the Holy Spirit. Paul wants us to recognize unity and work to keep it. We are charged to step into stressful situations with the love of Christ to live in peace with those who may be different than us ideologically. The animosity between the Jews and the Gentiles is the perfect example. How do we live in unity of the Spirit with people we don’t like? Talk about challenges.

Two sinners, who have held enmity in their hearts toward each other, working to preserve peace seems impossible. This indeed is a tall order, but Paul helps a believer out by giving how-to instructions. Let’s call Ephesians 4:3 Unity 101.

  • Be humble. Avoid getting tangled up in our own rightness. Humility puts God’s rightness first and doesn’t try to push a personal agenda.
  • Be gentle. Avoid being harsh when the opportunity arises. Gentleness responds kindly even when kindness isn’t reciprocated.
  • Be patient. Avoid rash retorts in moments of tension. Patience demonstrates the strength of self-control and wisdom of waiting.

If these how-tos seem a little unobtainable, remember our greatest spiritual blessing is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He directs, redirects and empowers us to tackle all the tough passages in Scripture. He works on our behalf to do the will of the Father, and since He does, let’s make every effort to work with Him in peace. 

Prayer: Lord, You are the God of impossibilities. Right now, living in unity seems impossible. I confess I am headstrong and at times can be less than patient. I look forward to experiencing Your power as You enable me to successfully and confidently live right with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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