October 22, 2021
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Recently I asked Alexa how many Protestant denominations there are in the United States. While she is not the authority on all things, I still wanted to ask. She told me that some say there are over 200 while one source lists over 30,000! I asked her how many of those denominations are Presbyterian. She told me there are fifteen larger Presbyterian groups and fourteen smaller ones—in the US alone! My head started swimming with this information, and I just couldn’t make sense of it. My heart hurt as I imagined how much division we have brought to God’s church.
Paul clearly knew there would be divisions and instructed the Ephesians to be very intentional in how they lived. He wrote they should “live a life worthy of the calling” (v. 1) and repeats variations of the same idea in verse 2 when he instructs them to “be humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Knowing that humans are apparently prone to divide and to separate, Paul told the Ephesians believers (and us) in verse 3 that we should “make every effort” to pursue unity. When I ask myself how I may have been part of creating divisions, it makes me sad to ponder my answer. People who are not like me, who do not look like me or think like me or believe like me are all subject to my “othering.” I have drawn lines of distinction, separating myself from them. I wonder if you have done the same. For today, let’s ask ourselves how we can strive toward unity instead of division in our relationships with others. Can we set aside differences to focus on the truth that we are all children of God? Can we recognize that not only are we loved and forgiven but that those around us also are loved and forgiven? Let’s ask God to give us His Spirit to guide and lead us to the unity that He asks of us.
How might my thoughts, words, or actions have contributed to creating separations and divisions in my relationships with others?
How might my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to creating unity in my relationships with others?
God, I pray that You would empower me to live a life worthy of Your calling. Please send Your Spirit to help me become humble, gentle, and patient. I pray that I can be part of the effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. I pray all of this for Your glory. Amen.