In Unity & Difference

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“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:1-7).

There is one subject to this rather long passage of scripture for today’s devotion. Well, more than one. The first topic is discussed from verses 1-6. The second topic is in verse 7, but it just as important as the first. What are these topics?

Unity and difference.

The unity of the church, the unity of the faith, is of critical importance in scripture. Unity is discussed several times elsewhere in scripture (Psalm 133:1, Ephesians 4:13, and I Peter 3:8). Jesus wants us to be unified in our thoughts about him and in our behavior toward one another. Even in the midst of disagreement, scripture urges unity: “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” Philippians 2:2). But the scripture also recognizes the God has made us different from one another and we will have different emphasis in our lives. Paul words this as a gift. “Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (v7).

We are all gifted differently. We have differing abilities, passions, and situations. Yet, in spite of those differences we must be unified in the faith. Without unity, our expression of faith falters. Between what is different and our unity there must be peace.

In whatever your situation today, look for opportunities to use your gifting in a way that unifies and builds up someone else in the faith, or perhaps to bring your witness of Christ to someone who doesn’t know him; who isn’t unified in the faith.

Memory Verse

“Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Application

Make note of a few people you know, some you get along with and some you don’t. How are their differences an example of God’s gifting? How can you encourage them today?

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