We live in a world that is ‘self-driven’. The ‘I have to have the best’, ‘be the best’, and ‘be better than her’ attitude is prevalent. Not only do we expect better than the best from ourselves we demand it from others, and we have little to no tolerance for those who do not measure up. While there is nothing wrong with being motivated and wanting to ‘do your best’, or even expecting others to do their best – Paul teaches us here and throughout his writings, that we are to be God-driven rather than ‘self-driven’. His words to “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit,” are preceded by the wisdom of how to do this, wisdom that basically teaches putting others first. He teaches humbleness, gentleness, patience, and making allowance for other’s faults – and he bases it on our love – which, according to Jesus’ teaching, is supposed to mirror His love for us, (john 13:34) – and His love was anything but selfish and self-driven. Where this love is absent, self will be prevalent and there will be no true unity. This is why Paul doesn’t suggest that we do this on our own but instead says to “make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
It strikes me as I’m writing and glancing back up at verse 1, where Paul begs the believers to lead a life worthy of someone who is called by God – that we are not just called to salvation but rather to live out that salvation. To love as Jesus loved, to be His hands and feet to the world, to go and make disciples, to edify and encourage others, to lift up the weak, and pray for the sick, and so much more. God’s calling is not easy but He made it all possible by giving us His Spirit – who not only binds us together with peace and in love but empowers, teaches, and guides us to do all that God has called us to do, even live at peace with other believers who we may not see eye to eye with.
Are you having trouble living at peace with someone or a group of someones? The Spirit of God is your answer – your strength and hope of overcoming the barriers to the unified peace God has called us to. May we heed Paul’s words and “because of [our love] make every effort to keep ourselves united in the Spirit, binding ourselves together with peace“. In this, God will be glorified and we will know His peace.
Response to God’s Word
Father as the old hymn says, “bind us together – with cords that cannot be broken – bind us together in love” – In Jesus’ name I pray, amen and amen!