…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ESV Ephesians 4:1b-3
Maintaining relationships can be one of the most challenging things we face as believers. The enemy knows if he can get us to fight each other, he can distract us from our calling the make disciples. Marriages, churches, groups, and friendships that are constantly bickering and disagreeing rarely have a kingdom focus. For this reason, having established three chapters of the glories of the gospel, Paul first begins his practical living tips with an emphasis on maintaining peace in our relationships.
To maintain peace and the unity of the Spirit, we first have to realize our great calling. Think of the great lengths Christ went through to save us. Shouldn’t we be willing to go to similar lengths to maintain the unity of the Spirit? We must realize we have been called to join Christ in this reconciliation process and thus, no matter how challenging it may be, we work diligently to reconcile fractured relationships. Secondly, doing this requires great humility and gentleness. After all, every one of us generally think too highly of ourselves. It’s hard to imagine others may have more insight than we do, that perhaps God is working through them in ways we don’t imagine. We have to give the benefit of the doubt, believe we could be wrong on an issue. Next, Paul encourages us to have patience and bear with one another in love. Some people need time to work through things. They may not be able to process hard conversations as quickly as we can. We must slow down and go at their pace in love. Finally, we must be eager to do these things, just as Christ was eager to save us. Truly, restoring broken relationships moves us closer to discipling others and fulfilling our true calling.
What relationships will need work in your life today? How can the power of the God’s love for you, Christ’s death for you, and the Holy Spirit inside you enable you to eagerly work to maintain these relationships? Pray God will use you in His great redemptive plan as you strengthen the relationships God has placed in your life.