U – Understanding – Verse 2 shows us that true unity people will with humility and gentleness, and with great patience show tolerance for one another in love. Tolerance is something that is widely abused by a lost and dying world, full of prideful, self-absorbed people. We are Christ-absorbed, so our tolerance is God-centered and heavenward focused. The means to an end that results in unity is enduring patience when dealing with unreasonable people. People we don’t understand where they are coming from, and people who do not have Christ as their guide and even, Savior. We do not compromise the Word of God in this practice, but we try to put ourselves in their shoes and relate to their present situation in order to help them see a better way. And the better way is Jesus!!
N – Normalize – Verse 1 – There is a normal way for those who know Jesus to live their lives. That normal way is centered around a “calling.” A calling is a deep commitment to follow Jesus in every area of your life. The old Mystics of the faith called it The Crucified Life. The Crucified Life is a life that is deeply spiritual and deeply real. The reality of this crucified life is we are called to a higher purpose and that purpose is found in a solid spiritual walk with God. Paul wrote to the Galatians in 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. This calling is us changing our “normal” to line up with God’s “normal.” This new way of crucified living becomes a normal way of life for each of us to the point that when people see us they see a true representation of Jesus. This kind of life is normalizing for relationships and draws others to Jesus and the result is true unity due to a true calling.
I – Intent – Verse 3 – The intent of our heart and mind is to preserve and protect the unity of the faith, which is the centerpiece for Christian fellowship. The early church was a very loving, giving body of people who truly portrayed the ways of Jesus and, thus were called “Christians”, which means they looked and acted like Christ. The early church strived to preserve and protect that way of living and thus protect their fellowship by living a truly Christ-like life of commitment and unity with each other. You never see backbiting, gossip, hatred, and other sinful qualities in a fellowship that is intent on preserving the Word of the Holy Spirit in each individual.
T – Together – Verse 4 – There was no hierarchy in the early church. Those who were set aside for leadership were set aside for service and that service helped fill needs that arose from time to time. Our unity in most churches today suffers because of the political way that some look at leadership. This way of doing church is a reflection of the world, instead of the world seeing a proper, Christ-like way of leading. The political model will always cause disunity, but the Biblical way will enhance togetherness and unity. A strong fellowship will have at its center a Biblical viewpoint about choosing and becoming leaders and it will not look anything like the world’s definition of leadership. 1 Corinthians 12:12 says 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Our together makes us stronger, but those in it are all sinners saved by grace, so there is no hierarchy that mirrors the way the world looks at leadership. Paul shows us that Jesus set the example in Philippians 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Y – You – Verse 1-6 – It all comes back to you…us. In verse 1 Paul says it is up to you to walk in a manner that is worthy of our calling. In verse 2 Paul says the attitude of your walk should be in humility. In verse 3 Paul says you must preserve the unity by how you live your life. In verse 4 Paul fine-tunes you and lines it up with the basic truth of life that revolves around the word ONE. Your life is to be centered around the One, Christ, and at your core be found in Him. Verse 5 and 6 further compounds the truth that you must let Christ be the foundation for all unity and living for Him makes unity come alive as never before. We must make a conscious decision that we will make the unity of those in the faith a major priority in our life and thus keep the church from being sideswiped by a worldly way of living. Only Christ will work and only Christ is who we must follow.
The Pilgrimage continues….