As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord,one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:1-16
A few weeks back I was talking to a dear friend of mine after our church service. We were talking about the different ways God was working in each of our lives. She was sharing some of her triumphs as well as struggles and I the same. The thing is, we are both traveling the same journey in our faith, but each of our experiences have been completely different. The commonality that both of our journeys share, is this that we both see God working in and through our lives through the different relationships we have with others. It is through those relationships God has orchestrated in our lives that he works in us and through us.
We all know that working with people in general can sometimes be very difficult. We all have different personalities and we all come from different backgrounds and have diverse upbringings. Thank heaven’s there’s not a thousand me’s running around (haha). That’s why Christ wants us to be “other minded.” To be other minded is to put others before ourselves. To be other minded is to see others as Christ sees them. We all have battles that we are fighting. Some have wounds and scars from our past that they are trying to overcome. Christ death on the cross set us free from those things and now we are “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Meaning Christ sees us as already perfected works “In Him” and we must work to show the results of our salvation which is obedience to Christ and work to attain unity in the faith so we can grow in maturity in Christ. This takes the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit working in us.
Sometimes the biggest stumbling blocks and the things that have set me back the most in my walk with Christ has been my incorrect focus. When we take our focus off Christ, it’s easy to get too distracted by looking around too much and focusing on people. When we focus on people what happens? We’re distracted, we see flaws. So often we see Christians tearing each other apart instead of loving one another. Now don’t laugh because I know this is a catch 22. God’s greatest command for us is what? To Love him first and then to love one another.
So how do we love others as Christ commands if we’re not focusing on one another? We need to keep our focus on God. Our greatest desire and motivation should be to please him with our actions (obedience). When we keep first things first (God) and we keep the proper focus (on God), we can then turn (as Christ commands us) and focus on the one another aspect. Then we are free to love one another with Christ’s love and to help meet others needs. We add value to others by loving them as Christ love them and by using our spiritual gifts to serve one another in love, in Christ’s pure love. This can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us and we do this by keeping ourselves fully submitted to God.
As believers in Jesus, we all travel this journey together. Some are on the road ahead, some walk beside us, and some are following closely behind. But the thing to remember about the journey is this, we are travelers together and we are all headed for the same destination. As the passage above says that we are being built up so that we can reach unity in the faith and affectively serve “one another” in the body of Christ. Lord Jesus please help us to keep our focus on you and to be other minded. Help us to walk in grace and in truth and to show the world you, through the love we have for one another! Thank you for being an amazing God! And to you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN