“Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
As disciples of Christ, we are part of something much greater than ourselves. We are part of the Body of Christ, a diverse and beautiful worldwide community of individuals, each uniquely gifted and called to serve God’s Kingdom. Yet, in the midst of our diversity, there is a call for unity—a call to come together as one, reflecting the love and character of our Saviour. In the letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul reminds us of the importance of striving for unity. He emphasizes that unity is not something we passively stumble upon, but rather something we actively pursue. It requires effort and a deliberate attitude to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Why is unity so crucial? Unity is a powerful witness to the world. Jesus Himself prayed for the unity of His followers, saying, “[May they] be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me” (John 17:23). When we have true unity in our relationships and interactions with one another, we reflect the love of God and draw others to the life-transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Striving for unity begins with a humble and Christ-centered mindset. We must set aside our personal agendas, preferences, and biases, and instead focus on what unites us—the saving grace of God through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In unity, we find strength, encouragement, and support to overcome challenges and fulfill the purposes God has for us. However, unity does not mean uniformity. We are a diverse community of believers with different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Unity does not require us to abandon our uniqueness or necessarily our heritage, but rather to celebrate and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation within the Body of Christ. It means embracing our differences, seeking understanding, and extending grace and love to one another all within the boundaries of God’s Word the Bible.
To strive for unity, we must also prioritize forgiveness and reconciliation. Hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and conflicts can easily divide us if left unaddressed. As followers of Christ, we are called to be a people of reconciliation and peace. We are called to pursue reconciliation, extend forgiveness, and foster healing in our relationships.
Unity requires us to be humble servants of God. Jesus, our greatest example, humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant. He “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men”. (Philippians 2:7) Likewise, we are called to serve one another in love, putting others’ needs before those of our own. Through acts of service and sacrificial love, we build bridges and create an atmosphere of unity that transcends our differences.
May each of us commit ourselves to strive for unity in our local congregations and in the Body of Christ as a whole. Let us be intentional in our efforts to foster understanding, forgiveness, and reconciliation. May our lives be characterized by love and humility, reflecting the unity that comes from knowing and following our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
God bless you,