Advent: December 16
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Paul calls his listeners to live exemplary lives, as individuals and as community. He reminds them that God is One, and they, too, should be one together.
It’s not an easy task. We find that some of the content of Paul’s letters is correctional, laying down the way the listeners should be behaving – some were falling out with each other; some were flaunting their wealth in front of poorer brothers and sisters; some were not sharing; false teachers were being welcomed.
There is only one way forward, and that is by moving together in God’s grace. Grace is given to each person individually to enable them to be the person God has called them to be. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, but worse than that, we are susceptible to doing the wrong thing. God is gracious, and his mercy and grace cover all sorts of things that are still to be acknowledged and repented of. If God were to reveal to us everything that is not right in us we’d not be able to handle it. God knows what we’re like, and he graciously leads us towards being the person he created us to be.
God has invested in you and me. He is your shepherd, and he cares for you. And there is a pot of grace to distribute to the world that has your name on it. Jesus may have assigned differing portions, but you will never reach the bottom of the pot.
Where do you see grace at work in your church fellowship?
Are there aspects of your fellowship life where grace is in short supply?
How might you bring grace to your fellowship?
Where can you bring grace to your neighbourhood?
Father God, I pray that in my fellowship I may be known as one who listens, who acts humbly in putting others first, who is gentle and kind, even with those who try my patience. Fill me with yearning to seek unity rather than self-righteous division, and pour out my apportioned grace over my head that others may experience it, too. Amen.