“Peace Be with You”

OPENING PRAYER

Jesus, give me the strength today to live a life worthy of the calling I have received.

 

Read: EPHESIANS 4:1–16

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 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.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 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.

 

Reflect: DO YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS A PEACE-BREAKER, A PEACE-KEEPER OR A PEACE-MAKER?

Having laid firm theological foundations in the first three chapters, Paul now turns to some of the practical outworking of these great truths. What are the attributes that are going to help the church maintain unity and peace? Why are unity and peace so important? Which of these characteristics do you find hardest to live out?

Verses 7–14 focus on the fact that Jesus gives gifts to every Christian. Reflect on why this is important in the maintaining of unity and peace. Comparing ourselves to others is not always helpful. Perhaps, like me, you come out well on good days and poor on bad days! What does maturity look like in this area?

Paul is keen that these early Christians are not taken in by false teachers. Verses 14–16 encourage a steady maturity that stems from inner security and allows for open, honest relationships.

This passage (and this whole letter) is quite a challenge to the church around the world. Too often we are fragmented, fighting with one another and far away from displaying the unity, peace and love spoken of here. Lord, have mercy!

 

APPLY

Ask the Lord to grow in you the attributes that contribute to unity and peace within the church.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

O Christ, here I am. Use me to serve Your church, so that we can all reach a place of unity and maturity in the faith.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider