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Becoming Mature Christians Aiming for Unity

'Winter Trees' photo (c) 2007, Casually Observed - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

[Editor's note: This Advent season, we will be running a series of reflections on the Bread Blog from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The reading for this post is Ephesians 4:1-6. Keep reading Bread Blog for more Advent reflections.]         

By Bonnie Johnston

How many of us have felt so overwhelmed at times that we want to climb under the covers and stay there warm and cozy? Perhaps the challenges and trying situations seem as if they are too much to handle and we feel like we need someone to rescue us. Maybe deep inside we might think, "If I knew it was going to be like this, then I'm with Peter Pan; I don't wanna grow up."

In today's passage, Paul, a prisoner for serving the Lord, urges Christians to live a life that measures up to the standard God set when God called them. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are called to the same. This call is for all Christians, not only those in "professional ministry." We are called to live in accordance to what God has done. That standard of perfection was only fully met by the One who walked on this earth, Jesus Christ.

And yet, here we are challenged to live as mature Christians, aiming for unity in the Holy Spirit, bound together in peace. We are called to put up with others and their failings, out of love that comes from God, and to live with humility, gentleness and patience. How difficult this is at times. I certainly know that I don't have this within me. But I do have hope in the One who saved me and is saving me. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit is available to empower us to lead a life worthy of our calling.

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Bonnie Johnston is executive administrator in the office of the president at the San Francisco Theological Seminary.

 

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