Sometimes we just don’t try.
We give up before we start.
We deem the objective too hard or not worth the effort.
Later we regret not trying.
What we lost out on was greater than the effort it would have taken to achieve it.
The time we spend trying to regain what we lost by not expending the effort takes more effort.
What is it for you?
For the Apostle Paul it was this:
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
The word translated, “Make every effort” has the connotation to “pursue zealously.” Effort, driven by zeal, to keep, to hold onto unity which the Spirit gives.
Here’s the full context: (Ephesians 4:1-6)
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
As we seek to be the Church which God has designed and given both to be a blessing to us and others, unity is a key attribute that is often so fleeting.
Jesus himself prayed for unity: (John 17:20-21)
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
His prayer was for a deep unity which paralleled the unity he experienced with his heavenly Father. For imperfect individuals to experience something even close, it does take an intentional focus and zealous pursuit and the power of the Spirit. We need to understand what causes divisions – within and without. We must be willing to see if we ourselves are part of the problem. We must be humble enough to “bear with one another in love.” We must recognize our battle is with Satan, not with people.
Many of us have experienced the extensive effort it takes to restore unity once it is broken. Let’s put the effort in on the front end to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Why is the effort worth it? Because we all experience the greatest blessing from the Church God established when it and we are united around “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Satan loves to divide. Watch out for him…and read on this week to uncover how Satan works, even within the Church, to divide people from each other and their Savior.
Apply: What have you not given your full effort to and then later regretted it, discovering the work to catch up or repair was greater than what the original effort would have been?
Prayer: Lord, help me to live a life worthy of the calling you have given to me. Help me to be completely humble and gentle, patient and willing to bear with others in love. Help me to do all I can to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace in my church so that we may all experience the blessing of unity around one Lord, one faith, one baptism and around you God, our Father who is overall and through all and in all. AMEN.