Hunkered Down Devotion

Ephesians 4:1-6 (Voice)
 As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. 2 Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. 3 Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.  
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were all called to pursue one hope. 5 There is one Lord Jesus, one living faith, one ceremonial washing through baptism, and 6 one God—the Father over all who is above all, through all, and in all.

There can be little doubt, especially if you have turned on your television, read a newspaper or a website, or listened to the radio, or even had a conversation in the last several months that we live in an incredibly divided time in our country’s history.  Not only do our political parties have wildly different ideas for how to best address the problems and issues that our country faces, but often it seems that many on both sides seem to have lost trust and respect for each other.  

As Christians, we are called to rise above this sort of divisiveness and, as Paul says, to ‘live a life worthy of the calling that has been graciously extended to us.’  To be clear, this doesn’t mean so kind of ‘false uniformity’, where we pretend that we all agree about everything all the time.  When I was a youth pastor, I had a poster hanging in my office that read ‘Jesus died to take away your sins, not your mind’.  It was a, not so subtle, reminder to myself and the youth, that God gave us our minds and expects us to use them.  That inevitably means we will come to different conclusions about all sorts of things.

What it does mean, however, is that when we agree, and especially when we disagree.  When we find ourselves on the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side of an issue, when we have to rethink a position, when we ‘lose’ or when we ‘win’, we are called to be humble.  We are called to be gentle.  We are called to be patient.  

I love the imagery of ‘an atmosphere ‘thick with love’.  How many of our difficult situations and problems would be made easier, less difficult, and just better, if they were just a little thicker in the love department?  Importantly – critically, God doesn’t expect us to do this on our own.  It is the Holy Spirit, working in and through us that binds us together in peace, that works in and through us allowing us to be humble and patient and kind – when we allow the Spirit to do it’s work.  

When We allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us in this way, wonderful things happen, whether we agree politically or not, whether we agree about which shade of Blue (or Red, or Black) reigns on the basketball court, when we are humble and kind to each other our neighbors, the community, and the world around us sees the hope and glory of God working in and through us.

Sharing God’s Love,

Prayer: Lord, help us to be humble and kind and patient. Help us be instruments of your peace. Amen.

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