Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. NIV
Much can be said on the topic of unity. Here the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus and encourages them to live a lifestyle worthy of the calling they have received. He then focuses on two main topics: love and unity. God's love is the basis for the Christian life and whether we live in that love will determine if we can effectively live in unity with one another.
Verse three tells us how to live in unity. First of all it says that we need to make every effort. Unity doesn't just show up one day on our doorstep. We have to work hard at living this life with one another so it will be more than just an existence. It takes time and effort to look beyond ourselves and consider the needs of one another.
Next he says to keep the unity. Once we have achieved unity we have to continue to work at maintaining it. We need to keep it a part of our lives as we would something very valuable to us. Then we see a key to unity. Paul calls it the unity of the Spirit. True unity can only come when God is in the middle of it. We can see examples everyday on the news and in federal, state and local governments where people only operate in unity when it serves their own purposes. God's unity looks to serve one another and is free from selfish ambitions.
Then lastly, Paul urges us to keep unity through the bond of peace. Peace is a bond. A peaceable disposition and conduct bind people together, whereas discord and quarrelling disband and disunite their hearts and affections. We as Americans are bound by freedom. We as Christians are bound by God's love and salvation. We as residents of Los Baños are bound by the commonality of the interests of our lives. We affect one another whether we realize it or not. May we be able to live together in unity to build a better Los Baños to live in and raise our children in.
Rev. Stephen Hammond is the Senior Pastor of Bethel Community Church