“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” — Ephesians 4:3
Being unified and experiencing unity are two different things. All followers of Christ have been unified by our faith, our common purpose for the Gospel, and our common destiny. Paul encourages the Ephesians, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). You’ve been unified, now live like it! Experiencing unity is based on building strong, intimate, personal relationships. It’s easier to do for some than for others. It’s also easier with some than others.
Just like the Church, every team — whether it’s a sports team or any other kind of team — is unified by a common belief, common purpose and common destiny. Effectively achieving the team goal, however, is governed by the unity they experience day to day as much as anything else. That’s why Paul urges us to really watch our attitude toward each other in Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” All relationships rise and fall, not by the conflict we encounter, but how we choose to resolve it.
Paul later tells the Ephesians to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and “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” (Ephesians 4:29). It’s not the conflict that breaks up teams; every team has conflict. It is how we treat each other and make each other feel as we strive for resolution.
— Jerry Birch, Cleveland Cavaliers chaplain
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