This is my last devotional in our series on Ephesians 4:1-3. The past four weeks we’ve been examining what it looks like to walk with humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance within the body of Christ.
Our fifth and final character quality is UNITY, and there's only one thing I want to say about this topic: unity is not the same as uniformity.
Uniformity is when a group of people share the same lifestyle preferences. We tend to gravitate towards these people - those who vote with our political agenda, those who work in similar jobs, those who watch our television programming, and those who enjoy our type of hobbies.
Uniformity isn't inherently wrong; God has hardwired each of us with preferences, and these preferences will attract similar people in our social circles. But here's what we need to understand: uniformity should never be the goal within the body of Christ.
In fact, Scripture clearly communicates that there won't uniformity among believers. 1 Corinthians 12 is probably the best treatise on the topic - "Now there are varieties of gifts...varieties of service...varieties of activities (v.4-6); For the body does not consist of one member but of many (v. 14); If all were a single member, where would the body be?" (v. 19)
Unity is unique because it relies on the Holy Spirit. While uniformity is built upon the preference of the individual, unity is built on the foundation of Christ. The same Lord that dwells in my soul is the same Lord that dwells in your soul, and the Spirit of God will literally agree with itself inside two believers when we put aside personal preferences and insignificant differences.
The church can and should be a motley group of believers working together for the gospel, but this kind of unity is counterintuitive to sinners. It requires love, patience and self-control - all character qualities we don't naturally have.
If you and I ever want to experience true unity with one another, we need to take advantage of the abundant grace in Christ so that we can give that same grace to our brothers and sisters. And because of the Cross, that grace is made available to you every morning.
Paul David Tripp
- What are some of your personal preferences, tastes, and gifts?
- What are some preferences, tastes, and gifts in others that you don't have an interest for?
- How have, or how could, these differences cause unnecessary conflict and grief?
- Why is a diverse body of believers a beautiful thing?
- What can you do to participate in the unity of the Spirit?