Unity of Spirit through bond of peace

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Among the characteristics of a peacemaker is humility. In fact, a person who is proud, or arrogant, cannot really be a peacemaker because they are most often concerned about how they appear and whether others are responding to them. A humble person is gentle, patient, and will bear with those who need special love and consideration.

Paul speaks of making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. How does one do that? Paul’s answer is, “through the bond of peace.” Unity begins with a commitment to peace. The Greek word used in this passage is “sundesmos” and means “a joint tie.” It is sometimes translated “ligament.” Figurative it is a uniting principle. In this verse it would mean that we are attached to one another through peace in the same way that our joints are held together by ligaments.

There is only one way to be joined in this manner. That is to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. The way we become completely humble is to become completely empty of ourselves. One word is translated “completely humble.” It is tapeinophrosunē  and it means, “a deep sense of one’s littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind” (Thayers). The point being made is that being bound by peace involves considering others first.

I have counseled many people in relationships over the years and my counsel is always real simple. Act and react toward the other person according to their perceived needs not according to the way you think it ought to be. When two people do that they will have unity and they will live in peace.

That is a tall order, but that is exactly what being completely humble looks like and it is what it means to be bound to peace.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see others and their needs before I consider my own needs. Help me to be completely humble so that I’ll be united in peace with my brothers and sisters in the faith.

Principle: A spirit of unity is possible when we are bound together in peace. Literally, united to one another as ligaments are bound to the bone.

Affirmation: I can bear with others who are as human as I because the love of God binds us together with a bond of peace.

Reflection: Can you explain how it is important for a peacemaker to be humble? What are some of the characteristics of humility in a peacemaker?

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.

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Sow In Peace and Reap Righteousness

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:17-18

 People who declare their spiritual wisdom, yet leave chaos and discord in their wake, are usually projecting their own heart rather than the heart of God. Some people feel like it is their “gift” to shake things up and cause people to be ill at ease. Those are usually lonely people because others grow tired of all the shaking and just don’t hang around them much.

The characteristics of wisdom that comes from God are very desirable. James writes that the first thing we notice about heavenly wisdom is that it is pure. The Greek word translated, “pure,” means perfectly clean, modest or innocent and is related to holy. Wisdom which comes from God produces holiness.

The words James uses to describe this pure, or holy, wisdom from heaven should be the adjectives used to describe believers. Believers who are peace-loving will be considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

A peace-loving person is considerate of others. Have you ever noticed that some people walk into a room and immediately people begin to become tense, and other people walk into a room and people begin to relax and feel at ease. Have you wondered why that is? The first person is usually interested in their own agenda and they are not that interested in how others are affected. The first consideration of the second is how he relates to others.

A peace-loving person is moved by mercy to deny himself and submit to the needs of others. And, it is because they care more about others than themselves the fruit of their life is righteousness. James says it this way; “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

Prayer: Lord, help me to see that what I want or expect is not the most important thing in the world. The needs of others must be high on my priority list. Grant me the grace to consider others first. In Jesus name, amen.

Principle: Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Affirmation: I seek the wisdom which comes from heaven that is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Reflection: Some people who claim spiritual wisdom leave a wake of chaos in their path. Is it the wisdom of God if it produces chaos and discord? Think about it.

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.

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Peace And Holiness Produce Unity

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  – Hebrews 12:14

It is interesting how the writer connects peace and holiness in this passage. This was not by accident. When we live holy we will have peace. When we don’t have peace we are probably lacking somewhat in our holiness.

God gives us grace to have peace with others, but according to this passage, we can miss the grace (favor) God has provided. How do we miss God’s grace on this issue? We miss it by allowing a root of bitterness to grow inside of us.

A root of bitterness will always cause trouble and will not only prevent us from having the peace of God but it will disrupt the peace of others. According to this passage a root of bitterness grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Bitterness grows out of a seed of offense and when it is full grown it’s fruit is discord.

Most of us can look back to a time when someone had done us wrong, or at least we felt they had wronged us. Instead of letting it go we kept it inside us and let it fester. Every time we saw that person, or thought about them, we remembered the thing they had done. Before long that seed of offense grows a root called bitterness and prepares to produce fruit that will defile any who come in contact with us.

The only solution is to forgive any perceived offense before it takes root. If a brother or sister has committed an offense against you that is on them; if you allow that seed of offense to grow a root of bitterness then that is on you. It is easier to forgive an offense than it is to restore the damage caused by a root of bitterness. Be at peace with all men and you will find it easier to live a holy life.

Prayer: Lord, it is not an easy thing to be at peace with all men. I find there are times when I carry things against others in my heart that I should not carry. Grant me the grace to forgive easily and not allow any root of bitterness to grow up in me. In Jesus name.

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of March? Find out how:  http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/daily-devotional-march-2013.html

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Reconciled – Renewed – Restored