Thursday, May 4, 2023
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
Those growing up in a devout Hebrew family, from Bible times and still to this day, have said the following words several times each day:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 
Unity originates in the Lord, the Eternal One, YHWH. God wants us to be His unified people, and we derive that unity from Him. There is only one God, and God Himself is one — Father, Son, and Spirit united in harmony and unity. Shortly before His Passion, Jesus prayed for His disciples to one.  In today's passage on relationships, Paul is challenging Jesus' followers to make every strenuous effort to maintain the unity we have through the Holy Spirit. We were born into God's family and united with each other through the Spirit of God, living in each of us and making each part of Jesus' body.  We were born into God's family, unified by the Spirit alive inside each of us. Paul wrote these words to call us back to the unity we had when we were born into God's family.  Despite our physical distinctions, we are no longer divided based on our human differences — like race, gender, and social position. Our unity is centered in each of us being one with Christ. 
We were born again as people unified because we chose to unite ourselves with Jesus in baptism. We find our unity in Him. Peace becomes our way of celebrating our unity in Christ. We recognize that this peace comes from being united with Jesus and focusing on the oneness of God. We are part of Jesus' one body because the one Spirit lives in each of us. We share in one hope for the future, the return of Jesus, and the fulfillment of our adoption into God's family.  This hope roots itself in Jesus as our one Lord celebrated in our union with Jesus in the one baptism that joins us with Him in His saving work. Because God is one as Father, Son, and Spirit, we trust God, the Father of us all.
While binding ourselves together in peace is our responsibility, we must realize that lasting unity is found only in God. The closer we move toward God in character, compassion, and faithful-lovingkindness, the more we find ourselves returning to the unity we had when we first came to Jesus and were born into God's one family. As we make every effort to bind ourselves together in peace, God is at work transforming us to become more like Jesus through the Spirit.  The Spirit continually unites us by the power of God's outpoured love working through each of us. 
Almighty God, we pray for those who follow Jesus today. Bind us together in loving unity as we pursue Jesus and are transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit to become more like Him. I recognize that we cannot force unity to happen. We know that true unity will only come from pursuing You as You transform us through the Holy Spirit, and we seek to bind ourselves together in peace. O, God, please empower us to make this so so that the world might come to know Jesus, * in whose name we pray. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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