Where Unity Begins
Monday - January 24th
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 1:15-23
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Research shows people in our world remain more divided than ever. As a result, we have strained relationships with some of the people we once counted among our closest friends. Some followers of Christ have been so affected by the attitude and spirit of other believers that they have struggled in their faith. They have found themselves stepping back from relationships that were once so dear to them.
This past weekend a young woman stopped to talk to me about her concerns regarding her sister. The sisters are daughters of a pastor, and their faith has been central to their lives. The woman who spoke to me said that her sister has struggled with her faith due to harsh and divisive conversations with other Christians regarding COVID and politics. As this concerned sister spoke to me, she asked me how we as Christians can fight the same polarization happening in our culture. She wondered how we can work to be the loving family of God we are called to be.
As we get deeper into the Book of Ephesians in our weekend sermon series, we will discover some answers to her questions. I told her that we would see some of the keys to Christian unity in a world of deep divisions. God intends for the loving unity of the Body of Christ to stand in stark contrast to the polarization tearing our world apart. Our love for each other should demonstrate the reality of the Gospel to the lost.
Where does unity and love within God's family begin? The Apostle Paul exemplifies the answer to this question in how he addresses the Ephesian believers in his letter to them. Paul says that ever since he heard of their faith and love for God's people, he thanked God for and prayed for them (Ephesians 1:15-16).
Wait. That's it? Well, it is the starting point.
When we know someone else is a follower of Christ, we should build our love and unity with them by thanking God for them and then praying for them. Perhaps you have struggled to get along with a brother or sister in Christ who has taken different positions or holds different views than you on some of the things polarizing our nation. Rather than avoiding that person or arguing with them, thank God for them. Pray for them. As you do, God will shape the attitude of your heart toward those brothers and sisters in Christ. He will develop a love that would otherwise be impossible to develop.
Our unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ begins with thanking God for them and praying for them!