July 15, 2014
READ: Ephesians 4:1-6
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love (v.2).
Have you ever wanted to take a quick peek at someone else’s mail? Maybe it was an envelope from a doctor’s office that held the results of a family member’s recent medical tests. Or perhaps it was a letter addressed to your parents from an estranged family member. As you held the envelope in your hands, the temptation to open it might have felt overwhelming.
In the country where I live, a person can go to prison for tampering with another’s mail. But, in a way, that’s what we do every time we open one of the epistles in the New Testament.
These letters found in God’s Word were written to individual believers and to young churches that had been planted across the Roman Empire during the earliest days of Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote 13 of the letters, each addressing a specific situation or concern.
Halfway into his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul pleaded with his readers to “make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3). Why did he want them to be one? Because they shared so many ones—one body, one Spirit, one glorious hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father (vv.4-6).
Oneness. It’s meant to be the heartbeat of God’s people. And Paul wrote that humble, gentle, patient and peaceful attitudes are what will help a heart of unity to beat strong (vv.2-3).
When believers in Jesus experience conflicts and disagreements (and we will), pride, harshness, impatience and intolerance won’t keep us together. Those things will only tear us apart. Instead, we need to remember the letter to the Ephesians which reminds us to “be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of [our] love” (v.2). —Jeff Olson
365-day plan› Matthew 10:16-42
Read Ephesians 4:32 and reflect on the example Jesus gave us of loving others well.
How have you struggled to achieve unity with other believers in Jesus who have differing views of disputable matters? (such as dress, music, worship styles, Bible translations). How can you move towards unity in the days ahead?