Getting along with each other doesn’t come naturally. It’s because of our sinful nature. So here, Paul gives the Ephesian church — and us — four action-oriented attitudes that build unity: humility, gentleness, patience and endurance.

Unity begins with humility. Because Christ is the head of the church, we submit ourselves to Him. The attitude of humility undergirds everything we do. God’s word calls us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Gentleness means we treat others with kindness and compassion. People come to the church wounded, battered by the world and the consequences of sin. We don’t know the emotional triggers, sensitive issues, or dark places each person faces. Therefore, gentleness is essential in building the bond of love.

Showing patience toward those who are younger, slower, or weaker demonstrates God’s love to our fellow believers. Christ’s body is made up of people who differ from us in background, personality and interests. As we exercise patience, God refines our character, makes us holy, and draws us together.

Bearing with each other simply means showing patience over long periods of time. We endure each other’s shortcomings because God forgives and endures ours. God’s love for us makes us capable of loving others. As we endure, we begin to see other believers as family, vital not only to God, but to us as well.

When, by the Holy Spirit’s power, we practice complete humility, gentleness, patience and endurance, we become one body.

Heavenly Father, living as the body of Christ requires supernatural strength. Make us one as you are one. May your Holy Spirit produce humility, gentleness, patience and endurance in my life as I surrender to you. Amen.

Go Deeper — Think of your relationships with other believers. What keeps you from being completely humble? Where do you need to acknowledge that God — not you — is in charge? Where do you need to show gentleness, patience and endurance? Ask the Holy Spirit to change your attitudes and actions by His power.

Further reading: Church Unity: Cutting Bitterness Out of the Blend

Tags: The Body Ephesians 4