Endeavoring to Keep Unity
Robert Wurtz II
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 NKJV)
Our passage is a snapshot of God’s will for the churches of God. Paul is writing to Ephesus, the premier church in Asia Minor, to remind them of the importance of walking worthy of our calling. This means we are to imitate Christ in all that we do. Paul then moves into a pastoral mode and calls the church to humility, gentleness, patience and love. He then brings these things together begging us to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. These are powerful words that are far reaching. We are learning what God wants from the churches. Simply put, He is calling us to unity and love. This is not always easy. This is why he uses the word ‘endeavoring’. Actually, the Greek word is much stronger and means to ‘make haste’ or ‘to be deligent’. This requires special attention and special effort. Why? Because the enemy is the sower of discord and is always looking for ways to destroy the love and unity in the churches of God.
The Unity of the Spirit
It is important to understand that when we talk about unity among the saints we are referring to the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). This is important. It is impossible to gather together two or more individuals and have them come into unit
The danger of drama
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Not all knowledge will bring sorrow, but the more secret things that we know about people, the more danger we are in. Pretty soon a person can accumulate so many secrets about so many different people that he/she will despair even of life and if the people in question are Christians the person ‘in the know’ is liable to conclude everyone a fake and lose their faith. I call this ‘toxic information’. Sometimes the best thing we can do is stop a person by saying, “I’ve heard enough.” We don’t need all the ‘juicy details’. Why? We have to protect our own hearts and minds. “The wise man gains an insight into the thousand-fold woes of the natural world, and of the world of human beings, and this reflects itself in him without his being able to change it; hence the more numerous the observed forms of evil, suffering, and discord, so much greater the sadness (כַּעַס, R. כס, cogn. הס, perstringere ) and the heart-sorrow (מַכְאוֹב, crève-cour ) which the inutility of knowledge occasions.” (K&D) Knowing secrets about people can be devastating to all parties involved. This is why we should not probe for information about people. Some things are a shame to even talk about. (Ephesians 5:12) The more the stuff gets spread around the more destructive it is.
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. (Proverbs 11:13) G.W. North once said that, “when we are told something in confidence we should immediately choose to forget what we are told because if we don’t we will end up sharing with others things we were told in confidence- even in our preaching. Some will do it only they withhold the names of the parties involved. It is still breaking confidence.” (para.) To prevent this we have to determine not to ever remember the thing again unless God should specifically bring it before us. To tell the information is to sow discord. And discord is the enemy of unity.
Paul writes, I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This means that we must make a conscious decision not to go on speaking of things that are contributing to the disunity of believers. The enemy likes to take things and run with them until the Holy Spirit is grieved and God is no longer moving in our midst. We must be careful about what we say, pondering how the words might effect the church we are part of. We must consciously decide that we will not traffic in secrets, but with all lowliness and gentleness will bear with one another in love. In this way we will cultivate an environment where God can move in the meetings as each person is able to worship and seek the Lord in peace.