I read many devotionals on any average day. Why? I need to. I need to hear many perspectives from people of faith who have learned to actually walk with Jesus and (don’t miss it…) others… others unlike them.
Living in close quarters intentional Christian community for 50 years is impossible without learning lessons that promote deep and real change in me. Learning to walk with a wide, quite varied group of people in terms of age, culture, ethnicity, race, experience and spirituality among all the shifts and turns of both church and societal change has been a gracious sandpapering of my soul and I’m deeply grateful for it.
To become, then grow as and finally remain friends with such a wide spectrum of people has been one of the greatest challenges -and- privileges of my life.
So one of this morning’s devos held the following phrase: “Trying to cling to inner peace without extending humility and patience is impossible.” With Thanks to Andrea Barnett: https://tinyurl.com/4uhw5uze
After reading through twice and immediately considering this phrase Paul mentions in the Ephesians text – “Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” I have to ask myself what I ask my readers: how EAGER are we for this? I mean within any Christian fellowship, church, band, worship team, mission work?
We all know unity is God’s will for His people. Was the entirety of Israel always at peace with one another? Has any local or larger stream much less the whole Christian Church on earth EVER lived in full-on “unity in the bond of peace”? When we “walk in the Spirit”, “keep in step with the Spirit” as Paul writes in Galatians, yes. But it doesn’t take much historical research to discover the real-world answer that often we have not always lived this out!
Yet, still and regardless, this.
To “keep” or “maintain” something denotes already having it. Or at least having had it at some point.
For a full-on consideration of this have a slow read here: https://biblehub.com/ephesians/4-3.htm
God GAVE and continually GIVES EACH CHRIST-FOLLOWER *HIS* PEACE. “My peace I give you, not as the world gives…” whether or not we access it, share it with others (and I don’t mean mere ritual of “passing the peace” as some churches do, a fine thing -but wait, there’s more).
Humility and patience? Willingness to lose? Pay a personal price? Suffer false judgment, even rejection and at times from brothers and sisters in Christ who do not agree with one another on all points of theology, certainly doctrine and absolutely methodology? THAT peace must move beyond “Jesus calls for it, prays for it in John 17!” and each of us must “be diligent to maintain” it. The idea of access doesn’t mean we’ve accessed it, are walking in it, are paying the various prices to not only have it internally but share it with others -especially with those we are not in agreement with on any number of levels.
Serenity, deep soul-peace, relationally with our heavenly Father, Lord and Savior, the Spirit of peace is a given, offered, needful and growing thing -IF we so choose not only to repent and believe but share it with others.
Until then it is a moving target, a mere concept that eludes us. Humility, patience? Foundation being grace, adding the ingredient of forgiveness? Yes. And most certainly believing in and accepting God’s forgiveness and mercy for our sins, mistakes and foolish ways.
Thus authentic, living, breathing unity. Praise God and Spirit of Peace -the Helper longs to help us experience this!
As always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn