SEPTEMBER: WALKING WITH GOD… Produces Unity

As we enter the last third of 2017, we find another spiritual quality that is produced as the believer walks with God – UNITY. Our verses for September illustrate this truth. “I, therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of your vocation wherewith ye are called,   With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;   Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). The Lord desires unity in His body. Yet, what is unity? I once heard the difference between union and unity as so defined: “If you can tie two cats’ tails together and throw them over a clothesline, you will have union but not unity.” (I am not advocating for this behavior!)

 

Unity is not uniformity. Uniformity is produced by outward pressure while unity is truly an inward grace. If you and I walk with the Lord, His presence in our lives will lead to unity in our homes, church, and country. This unity is desperately needed in our day. It is interesting to note that this passage on walking in unity comes at the beginning of the fourth chapter of the book of Ephesians; this is significant. The first three chapters of Ephesians teach us doctrine. Then in chapter four, verse one, Paul says, “therefore”, why? “Therefore” always calls your attention to something previously taught. The doctrine of the first three chapters of Ephesians provides the basis for us to do our duty in the last three. Let’s look at the spiritual graces that grow as we walk with the Lord daily.

 

First, Paul mentions that we are to walk worthy of our vocation – what is that? We learn in Ephesians chapter one that we have been called to be a part of His body – that is quite some vocation. Would you not agree? When we walk with the Lord notice what He produces in our lives. “Lowliness” is just another way to say humility. Humility is not thinking bad of yourself, it is just not thinking about yourself. You have determined to put the Lord first, others second, and yourself as third. Unity is destroyed when we are all thinking about ourselves. The second quality mentioned is “meekness”, which is not weakness but rather power under control. Following meekness comes “longsuffering” which is the ability that is learned as you walk by your Lord, Who indeed suffered long. Those who have developed this grace have learned not to be quick to lose their temper.

 

Next we see we are to “endeavor” to keep these things in our lives, i.e. we have to work at it. God produces these qualities but not without our personal effort. The last quality that the Lord mentions in connection with unity is the “bond of peace.” Peace is an inward quality that comes out in times of trouble. The reason that there is so little peace on the outside of our lives is because there is so little inwardly. You cannot be at war with the Lord on the inside and expect to have peace on the outside. It just doesn’t work that way, Christian. If these spiritual graces sound very similar to the fruits of the Spirit, (Galatians 5:22, 23), it is because walking with the Lord is the same thing as walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Then and only then, will we be able to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (v.3). Are you walking in unity?