The Unity of the Spirit (Part 1)
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul expresses the need for Christian unity. Notice the emphasis on the word “one” throughout this book. Unity and “one-ness” seem to be a consistent theme in many of his other writings. However, in the book of Ephesians the topic of unity takes center stage.
One of the ways Paul directs us to be unified is to have “one spirit” (Ephesians 4:4). What does that mean to have one spirit? Is it possible to have “one spirit” as we work together for the cause of Christ? These are good questions for us to consider and we will seek the answers in this study.
First of all, notice that Paul challenges us to unite, not on creeds of men or any idea created by man, but to seek unity in “one” spirit. We might wonder: “What kind of spirit?” As God’s children, we should be aware that God wants us to become more and more like Him (Matthew 5:48, I Peter 1:15-16). It would be wise for us to consider the nature of His own Spirit because Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (NKJV)
God wants us to have the spirit of love, because He is love (I John 4:8, 16). It was His love for us that compelled Him to send Jesus to the cross (John 3:16). The Lord would love for us to have “one” spirit of love. This is why we often read commandments like love God, love one another, love your enemies, and love yourself. God is a God of love. Therefore, He wants His family to have the spirit of love.
God wants us to have the spirit of joy, because He is full of joy (Isaiah 62:5). In fact, Jesus came to help His disciples fill their joy cups to overflowing (John 15:11). We need to be happy and joyful if we hope to win our friends to Christ. They need to see that godly living is the way to true contentment. Unfortunately, there are many “sour” Christians in this world that walk around looking like they have been weaned on a pickle.
God wants us to have the spirit of peace, because He is a God of peace (Romans 15:33). When Jesus spoke the Sermon on the Mount He encouraged the people to be “peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Our enemy, Satan, loves to cause division, but God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). He wants us to all have the same mind and the same judgment (I Corinthians 1:10). For this reason, Christians should hate conflict. We should seek to reconcile ourselves and others to God.
God wants us to have the spirit of long-suffering, because He is long-suffering (Romans 2:4). Many times people will talk of the patience of Job or Paul, but no one is more patient than God. As we strive for maturity in Christ we need to let patience work in us (James 1:2-4). It is hard to suffer long, but looking to Jesus’ great example can help us. Think about His temptation, His trials, and His death. When hardship comes our way, we need to be more like Jesus. Stand fast in the Lord.
In the next blog, I want you to notice some more about the unity of the Spirit. It is my prayer that we will all come to the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Have a great week!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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This is part of an ongoing series on the Holy Spirit.