After Paul gives us such hope in our God, he brings it back down to real, raw, practical living.
As a prisoner for the Lord, the, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Be completely humble (ouch)
and gentle (double ouch)
be patient (okay, now he's stepping on my toes)
bearing with one another in love (uhhhh)
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (every effort?) There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (I added some extra stuff. Ephesians 4:1-6)
Did you see all of that?! My goodness I haven't done very well at times. I remember when we were at a church a few years back and things got pretty rocky. There was plenty of others NOT making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. In fact, it was quite the opposite. My husband and I decided we were not going to be a part of that crowd. I'm not saying we were perfect, but I am saying we tried very hard not to be a part of those who stirred the waters and broke the unity.
Remarkably, even though he was on staff, we did not receive one phone call from anyone to "talk" about anything. I believe our faithfulness to God kept us "out of the loop." And that was a good thing. When JT ended up leaving to work at another church, we were loved right on out. They supported us and sent us with their blessing.
We must be people who realize that through humility, gentleness, patience, and a constant effort to keep unity we will make a difference not only in our churches, but in the world. We have to keep our sights set on ONE thing. Paul makes it very clear what that one thing is - Jesus.
This kind of attitude does not set us up to be walked on. If we follow Jesus we follow The Warrior! However, He will be the one to wield the sword of discipline, not us. I'm also not saying that if there are things in your church that are sinful that you should bow your head in the name of unity. No, there is a time for discipline in the church.
What I am saying is that there should always be a humility before God in anything. Good or bad. Any situation in your home, family, church, work, any situation should be brought to the Lord before we open our mouths. We have been urged by Paul to live a life worthy of the calling we have received.
We've been called to live for Christ. How are we doing? Is He the first person you go to for anything so that you can live it out in His love and attitude? I'm still trying to get that right! :)