The Unity of the Holy Spirit
Today, I figured that I'd combine the Word For Wednesday and the Inspiring Story together. I'd like to start with this Scripture:
Eph 4:1-3 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
As I mentioned previously, I've been thinking a lot about suffering. Now, I know that some may say that we aren't experiencing the cruel treatments that other Christians around the world are experiencing, so why think about their sufferings; we've got it easy here in America. But I would reply to this that just because we are not PRESENTLY experiencing those sufferings, this does not mean that we WON'T experience them at all. We must prepare our own hearts, because only God knows the future -- we do not.
The unity of the Spirit is to be united in the Lord. We know that we are ALL children of God, as Romans 8:15-18 states -- "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Therefore, it seems to me that a small fraction of the unity of the Spirit is to "bear one anothers burdens," as the Scriptures say. When we pray for our precious brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, we ARE experiencing their sufferings in a small way -- we are carrying their burdens with them. In 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 Paul said, "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually."
Here is wonderfully inspiring example of this --In a country in the Middle East where Isam reigns, three converts to Christianity were secretly baptized. They were promptly arrested. Through Brother Andrew's help and the prayers of many Christians around the world, the men were release four months later. After their release, when Brother Andrew went to see them, he brought a large stack of letters; these were encouraging letters from Christians in the West. One of the men opened a letter and his eyes filled with tears as he said, "People were praying for us?" Brother Andrew replied, "Thousands were praying all over the world." The man said, "That explains it. There were times when I felt I couldn't go on anymore, and then I would feel a power beyond me as though there were others who were taking my suffering and carrying it for me."
In addition -- and most importantly -- being in the unity of the Spirit means that we love God firstly. When we love God, our love for others will immediately follow suit. This love is not just toward our Christian brothers and sister; it extends to even our enemies. How do we love our enemies? We love God, and we show them this love. It is then that we can truly suffer for Christ -- we love Him too much to care about our own sufferings, and we care too much about our enemies salvation. I remember hearing a story about a persecuted Christian who stated that when he looked at his persecutor, he saw an angel. That helped him to persevere. Shouldn't we care about our enemies eternal souls that much? If Jesus gave His life for us, we should be more than happy to give it for Him -- and for our enemies, if necessary. Jim Elliot said that he would die for the tribe, because "they aren't ready to die; we are." This reminds me of Romans 5:6-8, which states, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" ~ Matthew 16: 24-26
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