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Unity, Humility, Power

by Brian Flewelling on July 20, 2021

Imagine traveling to a foreign country and needing a translator for every conversation you engage in. The translator stands between you and the clerk communicating your needs or frustrations to that person. At the restaurant, in the taxi, paying for your parking ticket, the translator is the third-party moderator speaking your words and emotions. Would that translator be embarrassed to translate some of your words or behavior to someone else?

Now imagine Jesus standing between you and your spouse, or children, or some exasperating person in your life. Imagine if every conversation had to pass through Jesus first. Would he be embarrassed at your tone of voice? Would he be repulsed by your judgmental attitude or your unbridled impatience for a difficult customer? What does it look like for Jesus to filter and modify your attitudes and responses to reflect how he feels instead of how you feel?

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

I’m continually struck by how beautiful these words sound from the pulpit, and how disconnected we are from them in the heat of a real relationship. How do we massage these nice sounding ideals down into our daily habits and reshape how we act?

Part of the solution is discovered in the very next verse, “keep the unity of the Spirit.” We have to insert the Spirit of Christ into the middle of every relationship, and every conversation, and every circumstance. The unity is not in your relationship with a person, but in both people relating to each other through the Spirit, like two legs being connected to the same stool.

Perhaps there’s a second analogy that could help. It can also be like a coach calling two people, with very different skills and personalities, to play on the same team and strive towards the same goals. You and I are now working together, attempting to build the same team and reach the same ends. As teammates, your weaknesses should no longer threaten me. I should no longer view you as an enemy. Nor should I be trying to destroy you or expose your mistakes. We are problem solving together; aiming towards the same target; patient with each other as we grow. We are going to make mistakes, but we’re not going to destroy each other in our exasperation or criticism.





That’s not easy work. And that’s why meaningful relationships require commitment, because it’s easy to abandon ship when the lifting gets heavy. Paul says, “bearing with one another in love.” You are literally carrying a heavy load for someone else.

Yet, these qualities—humble, gentle, patient, loving are the “new you.” I encourage you to dial into the Spirit of Jesus in your living room and breakroom, continually asking him how he wants to express himself through your words, actions, and attitudes. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20). The end result is a power that can’t be reached by yourself. Two people rowing in the same direction are faster than one. Four people, faster still. Imagine an entire team, or family, patiently and methodically working through mistakes and consistently compensating for each other’s weakness. The end result is a unity in humility, and a power in the purpose you are laboring towards together.




Tags: power, loving, habits, spirit, unity, gentle, patient, humble

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