Do you remember how hard it was learning to tie your shoes? I do! It was an impossible task! Why couldn’t my mom just continue to buy me those awesome velcro shoes? OR even better yet those sweet jelly sandals! So what if they gave me blisters!
Well I’ve realized that learning to tie ourselves together in unity is also a difficult task. Whether it is unity with my spouse, family, friends or my church. I have to WORK at it. I have to practice. I need mentors and people who have been tying themselves to Christ’s family longer than me, to show me how it’s done.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 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. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT; emphasis mine)
This verse uses the word “one” 7 times. Why is that significant? Because 7 is used in the Bible as a symbol of completion, wholeness or oneness if you will. So what Paul is telling us is that if I want to have the full unity with God and with others, I need to practice humbleness versus pride. Gentleness versus harshness. Patience versus impatience.
Easy? NO. But neither was learning to tie my shoe. Is it worth it? Well I know how much happier I was when I didn’t have to stop playing to find an adult to tie my shoe again. Unity also requires sacrifice. I have to be willing to put aside selfish things, give up time that I often feel I don’t have enough of anyway and invest in relationships. Learning to tie my shoes was a sign of maturity, just like working at binding myself as one within the body of Christ is a sign of the spirit’s maturity within me.
As I mature I realize that those things that were once so difficult (sacrificing time, money, pride etc) are really just part of learning to walk upright and with confidence. Knowing that these ties that bind are hard-pressed to come undone.