Christ calls us to love one another. Paul even went as far as to say to “submit” to one another in Ephesians 5:21, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submitting does not mean being a doormat. It means to subordinate so we can receive the promises of Christ. If we are willing to follow Christ and work in accordance to His plan, we are more willing to obey His commands and live according to God’s perfect plan for our lives and for the big picture.
So many of us (myself especially) are too quick to give our opinions without completely thinking about the impact our words have on others. Paul warns us in Ephesians 4:29, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. If our words do not impact others in a positive way, we should rethink what we have to say. While there is a time to correct and instruct, we should still take great care in what we say and how we say it.
We all have our good days and our bad. We all sin and make mistakes. The body of Christ is there to support us in our times of need, just as we are there to support the body of Christ when others need us. We do this because we have a common love created and supported by the love Christ has for us. In Ephesians 7:16 Paul says, 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. As individuals we have our weaknesses, but as a body of believers we are strong and have very few gaps in our faith. If we were all a little more open to understanding how we can work together as a body of Christ, we would all be stronger in our faith and stronger in influence and deed.
The unity we experience as believers should be prevalent and obvious to those around us. Ephesians 4:4-6 Paul says, 4 There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. In reality, many times we experience anything but unity. We focus on majoring in the minors and fail to look at the big picture. If we cannot see the “big picture” message of Christ, which is to love God and love others, then we fail our mission from Him. We need to focus on the things that bind us and not on the things that divide.
When we talk about the “church”, we are not talking about a building, we are talking about the body of Christ made up of all believers. Paul talks about the make up of the body of Christ in Ephesians 1:22-23, 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. The intended makeup of our relationship with God was fulfilled when Christ died and God raised Him from the dead. It is because of this miracle and God’s plan which allows each of us to be saved and become members as believers in the body of Christ fulfilled.
God’s grace is more abundant than we can ever truly grasp and He loves us more than we can comprehend. In Psalm 145:8 David reminds us, The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. No matter how bad things get, God’s grace is what He wants us to experience more than anything else because of His love for us.
When God chose us, He did so before we ever chose Him. Just as God chose Jacob and Israel in Psalm 135:4 He chooses us today, For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be His treasured possession. God treasures us and gives love and mercy to all who believe, accept, and choose to have a relationship with Him.
We are not slaves to unrighteousness. God has set us free by His grace and love. Psalm 129:4 says, But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Through our freedom found only through God’s perfect plan, we are no longer tied to sin. That doesn’t mean we are perfect, but through God’s power and grace we have the tools to be free from the damaging power of sin in our lives. Trusting and relying on God’s strength through the Holy Spirit is all we need to conquer sin.
The Psalmist gives us a great example of looking in the right direction when we need help; up! Psalm 123:1 says, I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. When the world seems to be closing in around you, remember to look up to heaven for God’s guidance, leadership, and love.