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The Unity of the Spirit PDF Print E-mail
Written by H.G. Bishop Youssef   
Friday, 24 August 2007
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The Unity of the Spirit
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As we stand to pray the Agpeya every morning, the Church puts before our eyes this passage from the Holy Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians "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. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:1-6). Reading this passage is a daily reminder that our main obligation is to keep the unity of the Spirit in our church. This can be fulfilled in two steps, first by our behavior towards each other and second by keeping the one true doctrine.

Our teacher St. Paul draws our attention that as Christians, members of the same Church, we do have unity of the Spirit. However, the challenge we are facing is how to keep this unity. To actually keep unity is to become one in spirit. Oneness does not come from being together in the same church, or from knowing each other's name, or attending church members' birthday or graduation parties or going out and eating together. An outward unity, which does not secure peace, cannot be the unity of the Spirit.

Oneness is produced by the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit, given to us by the Lord Himself, is the spiritual bond that holds us together. When Christians do not live in harmony with one another they are tearing this bond holding them together. In allowing the Holy Spirit to live within us and work in us without resisting or quenching Him we are submitting ourselves with all lowliness and humility to the will of the Lord.

St. Paul puts before us three qualities essential in everyone in order to be able to keep the unity of the Spirit.

  1. Lowliness or humility entails seeing one's self aright with all honesty. Lowliness is the willingness to die to self by submitting first to the Lord Jesus Christ and second to others. When we submit to God, He will give us that humble spirit that Christ Himself had when He left His throne in glory, came down to earth and died on the cross for the sake of other people. Lowliness is, truthfully believing that others are more important than one self. "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself" (Phil 2:3).
  2. Gentleness is an ability that grows out of lowliness. It is expressed in the calm spirit we have at all times when dealing with others even those who are talking about us wrongfully or hurting us. Gentleness could also be translated "meekness" and meekness is not weakness. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to imitate Him "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Mt 11:29). Our goal is to be one day like our Lord Jesus Christ. Once we achieve this gentleness we will find rest both within us (for our souls) and with others. A humble and gentle spirit will strive to protect and preserve the unity of the Spirit while sparing us from trying to defend our rights or enforce our opinions. Believe that God is in control and He will not only defend you "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them" (Ps 5:11) but He will conform you into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. Longsuffering is the product of the combination of lowliness and gentleness. It is the ability produced by the Spirit that enables us to take the unkind words that are said, and the unkind deeds that are done. Not only can we take them and tolerate the people who did them, but also we can love them in spite of themselves and not give up on them because there is still hope that God can change their hearts.



Last Updated ( Friday, 24 August 2007 )
 
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